Royals Earn Second Straight CVC Tournament Berth

The Royals are heading back to the CVC Tournament, where they have a history of success as a lower seeded team. (photo by Scott Eyre)
The Royals are heading back to the CVC Tournament, where they have a history of success as a lower seeded team. (photo by Scott Eyre)

For the second straight year, Eastern Mennonite University is heading to the CVC Tournament.

The Royals had to sweat out the finish of the final match of the regular season to learn their fate, earning the final berth in the six-team field when No. 4 Kean took a 3-1 road win at No. 12 Southern Virginia. EMU and SVU ended the season tied for third in the CVC West with an 8-5 record, but Eastern Mennonite won the tiebreaker based on a season sweep of the Knights.

The men travel to Juniata College, the second seed of the West, for a quarterfinal match Tuesday night at 7:00pm. The winner heads to Union, N.J., where top-seeded Kean University awaits in the semifinals. Marymount earned the top seed in the West and will play either Rutgers-Newark or Ramapo in Friday's other semifinal.

Click here for more information on the 2018 CVC Tournament.

EMU and Juniata split their two meetings this season, with the Royals winning 3-1 in Harrisonburg on Feb. 16, and JC earning a sweep at their home on Feb. 3. Eastern Mennonite has not beaten the Eagles in Huntingdon, Pa., in the seven-year era of the Continental Volleyball Conference.

The Royals ended the regular season Saturday at a non-conference tri-match hosted by Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. EMU split the day, earning a sweep over Baruch, to notch 20 wins for the second straight season and just third time in program history.

They head into the postseason with an overall record of 20-12. Of those losses, nine came at the hands of teams either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA poll, and one came against a D-II team.

EMU 3, Baruch 0
The men started their day off well, letting their defense do the talking in a sweep of Baruch on the neutral court.

The Royals used runs of 5-0 and 6-1 to take the opener by a final of 25-19. EMU led by as many as nine points in set two before winning 25-22, and then slowly built space in a 25-17 final.

Eastern Mennonite racked up 10.5 blocks in the sweep while setter Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) doled out 41 assists. Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) smashed 13 kills with five blocks, while fellow middle R.J. Ocampo (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) had a hand in the other five blocks. Taylor got in on four stuffs.

William Ragland (North Chesterfield, Va./Thomas Dale) had 11 kills and along with Micah Buller (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) co-led the team with nine digs. Tim Callahan (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) had eight kills and eight digs.

No. 10 Vassar 3, EMU 0
The Royals struggled to get their attack in gear against the big-blocking Brewers.

The men took a small edge in the first set, and then settled for ties at 17-17 and 22-22. Vassar had the final push, however, setting the tone with a 25-23 win.

The Brewers then took early leads in the second and third sets and held on in each, taking 25-19 and 25-17 finals.

Ragland led all players with 10 kills while Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) was good for nine kills and 12 digs. Lutz had six kills and two blocks.

Taylor put up 25 assists, while Buller added seven digs.