EMU's volleyball men continued their road swing with a tri-match at Rutgers-Newark on Saturday. Even with a solid non-conference sweep of Mount Saint Vincent, the Royals head came home with a pair of CVC loss, including a five-setter to Rutgers-Newark. They also lost at No. 8 Marymount on Friday.
Eastern Mennonite is now 19-10 on the season and 8-4 in the CVC. The 19 wins ties the 2002 and 2006 teams for third-most wins in program history. The Royals earned 22 wins in both 2007 and 2017.
More importantly, EMU is clinging to a two-way tie for second in the CVC West, matched with Juniata at 8-4. Southern Virginia is dangerously close at 6-4. Only the top three teams from the division make the CVC Tournament, meaning only two of those three teams expect to join West-leading Marymount in the six-team field.
The Royals have a nearly two-week break before playing their final CVC match at No. 4 Kean on Friday, April 6. The regular season wraps up that weekend.
Rutgers-Newark 3, EMU 2
The five-set CVC match against the Scarlet Raiders was about as close as possible, with the teams swapping matching scores through the first four sets.
Eastern Mennonite used a key 4-0 run late in the first to grab momentum in a 25-23 win. Rutgers-Newark ended on a 3-1 spurt to win the second, 25-23.
The Scarlet Raiders got ahead by winning the third, 25-22, scoring the final four points. But the men used a big 9-4 swing midway through the fourth to earn the fifth set, 25-22.
In the fifth, the Royals made three straight errors to let Rutgers-Newark break off an 8-8 tie and they could not recover. They got within two points twice before the home team scored two in a row to close things out, 15-11.
EMU out-hit the Scarlet Raiders, .227 to .187, but also committed 10 more service errors.
William Ragland (North Chesterfield, Va./Thomas Dale) put down a season-high 21 kills, hitting at a .350 clip from his outside position. The senior also racked up 18 digs, a new career high. Middle Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) also set a career high, notching 16 kills. He keyed EMU's net defense with six blocks, including two solo.
Corey Pieper led Rutgers-Newark with 23 kills, 15 digs and three blocks.
EMU 3, Mount Saint Vincent 0
The Royals worked a few more players onto the court in the non-conference match against Mount Saint Vincent. They pushed ahead early in the opener and finished strong in a 25-19 win.
After giving up the first three points in the second, EMU took over for a 25-17 win.
The Dolphins started on a surprising 10-1 streak in the third before the men steadied the ship. A Ragland kill finally tied the score at 21-21. Each team had a shot at set point before Callahan and Ragland landed back-to-back kills to finish off the win, 28-26.
Ragland hit kills on over half of his swings, leading both teams with 15. Callahan was good for nine kills and nine digs. Back-up setter Wyatt Bollinger (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) had 21 assists in two sets, while Taylor had 14 in his one set.
Ocampo led all players with four blocks and Sean Wright (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) added three.
Colton Frey (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) picked up eight digs, while Buller had seven.
Jose Estrella led the Dolphins with 10 kills.
Career Kills Leader
Senior Tim Callahan earned a combined 24 kills on the day, putting him No. 1 in program history for career kills in the modern rally-scoring era. Callahan has racked up 883 career kills, overtaking Justin Reesor's mark of 867. He is No. 5 all-time at Eastern Mennonite, only behind the four men with 1000+ kills from the era of side-out scoring. Brandon Ratliff is the all-time leader at 1150.