Ten days ago, when EMU hosted historic rival Juniata in men's volleyball, neither team hit well. The Royals used 12 service aces to gain the difference in that one for a 3-1 win in Harrisonburg.
In Tuesday night's rematch in Huntingdon, Pa., the Royals did not hit well again, but this time only managed three aces. The Eagles, on the other hand, made seven less attacking errors and hit .232, giving them a noticeable upper hand in a 3-0 sweep of No. 11 Eastern Mennonite.
EMU falls to 19-8 overall and 8-3 in the Continental Volleyball Conference. Juniata, which just fell out of the top 15 of the AVCA national poll earlier in the day, moves to 15-10 and 7-3.
The Royals can still lock up their first-ever spot in the CVC Tournament this weekend, playing road dates at Cairn on Friday and Rutgers-Newark on Saturday. At 5-5 in the CVC, the fifth-place Scarlet Raiders are the only remaining team that can mathematically sneak in to the conference's top four for the postseason tourney.
In Tuesday's first set, Juniata pushed out to an 8-3 lead. The Royals answered quickly to get within two points at 9-7, but the Eagles used an 11-2 streak to pull away for a 25-17 win.
The men played more steady in the second, allowing only an early 3-0 run from JC. They trailed by a couple of points all set, before getting within 22-21 late. But Juniata had a second 3-0 run in their bag to close out a 25-21 decision.
Eastern Mennonite held a slim lead early in the third, and then used an 8-2 run to open up an 18-11 cushion. The Eagles returned fire with an 8-0 streak, flipping to a 19-18 lead. The men played a point down, and even fended off a match point at 24-23, before scoring two in a row to get the edge. EMU then had the score at set point twice before committing errors to give Juniata a 3-0 push to steal the set and close the night, 28-26.
Juniata out-hit the Royals .232 to .072. Josh Elmore (Chester, Va./Matoaca) was the men's only efficient hitter, landing 12 kills on 24 swings. William Ragland (North Chesterfield, Va./Thomas Dale) added 12 kills with three blocks. No one else had more than two kills. Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) had 28 assists and a team high eight digs.
Tim Callahan (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) had two of the team's three aces. Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) added a couple of blocks while Micah Buller (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) picked up seven digs.
Quinn Peterson led the Eagles with 15 kill. Middle Kyle Seeley added nine kills and five blocks.