Coming off Wednesday's exciting upset of No. 3 SUNY New Paltz, the EMU volleyball men made the long road trip to Marcy, N.Y., for the two-day SUNY Poly Invitational. The Royals never hit high gear during the weekend, but had enough to earn a pair of splits.
Now 3-2 after cramming five matches into four days, Eastern Mennonite gets the week to rest up for another home contest on Saturday. The men host Arcadia with an 11:00am start in Yoder Arena.
EMU 3, Rivier 1
The two teams traded leads early in set one before Rivier used a 5-1 run to expand on a late one-point late. They won, 25-20.
The Royals exploded to a 16-8 lead in the second set to even things, 25-17. Another big run in the third turned into a 25-16 win. The fourth was tight all the way to an 18-18 tie before EMU pushed away for a 25-21 clincher.
Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) had 10 kills and three blocks while Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) added nine kills and five blocks. Setter Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) had 33 assists and five blocks. William Ragland (North Chesterfield, Va./Thomas Dale) made seven digs.
Cam Roth led Rivier with 11 kills and three service aces.
No. 4 Vassar 3, EMU 1
The men locked up with Vassar, after also having met up with them last season in a January invitational. The Royals won that one in five sets.
This time around, EMU landed the first punch, winning the first set, 25-21. But Vassar returned the effort, evening the sets with their own 25-21 score in the second.
The Brewers got points at the right times in the third and fourth sets, winning each 25-23.
Eastern Mennonite hit a season-low .089 in the loss. Lutz was a positive force with nine kills. Ragland and Tim Callahan (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) each had eight. Taylor had 30 assists.
Callahan added four blocks.
Kevin Ros and Matthew Knigge co-led Vassar with 14 kills, with the latter stuffing eight blocks.
EMU 3, SUNY Poly 2
After a late night Friday, the men had to make a quick turnaround for the 11:00am match on Saturday against the host school. The Wildcats were ready, using a 5-0 run to tie the score at 21-21. EMU got back in front, and had two chances at set point, but SUNY Poly ended on a 4-0 run to steal the set, 26-24.
The men used a 3-0 run to get out of a 20-19 deficit, winning the second, 25-23.
The back-and-forth nature of the match continued in the third, with the Wildcats scoring the final four points, once again stealing a set, 26-24.
Eastern Mennonite recovered from an early deficit in the fourth and carried their small margin to the finish, 25-21, forcing the fifth set. SUNY Poly needed a 2-0 jab to tie the final set at 12-12, but Lutz and Abele each had a kill down the stretch to finish a 15-12 win.
The Royals got most of their consistent attacking out the middle, with Lutz tying his career high with 12 kills. He added five more blocks. Fellow middle R.J. Ocampo (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) landed seven kills with three stuffs. Ragland added 10 kills, but also had 11 attack errors. Taylor had 38 assists.
Callahan racked up a career best 16 digs, while libero Micah Buller (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) had 11.
Ryan Gloff led SUNY Poly with 14 kills and four blocks.
Nazareth 3, EMU 1
The men played behind most of set one against Nazareth, but nearly escaped on the strength of a late 4-0 run. Abele and Ocampo combined for a block to cap a 4-0 run and give EMU a 25-24 lead, but attack errors allowed the Golden Flyers to score three straight for a 26-24 final.
EMU took an early lead in the second but Nazareth took over midway through with a handful of small runs. They took a 2-0 lead with a 25-17 win.
The Golden Flyers had a 5-0 run early in the third, but the men stayed alive with a 9-2 run to jump in front 15-12. Nazareth came back to tie the score, before Abele and Ragland put down kills to win the set, 26-24.
A string of blocks in the fourth nearly got the men out of a 21-11 deficit, but they ended up short, 25-21.
Lutz was again a key weapon on both sides of the net, leading EMU with 11 kills and seven blocks, including two solo. Ragland added 11 kills and eight digs. Abele was solid with nine kills, eight digs and five blocks while Callahan also had nine kills and eight digs.
Taylor put up 38 assists.
Kane Wittorff led Nazareth with 12 kills on just 15 swings. Joe Crosby added 11 kills.