A dramatic effort against Elmira wasn't enough to get EMU's volleyball men their first win of the season, as the Royals dropped a five-setter as part of day two at the Arcadia Classic in Glenside, Pa. The men also lost to the host school to finish up play.
Eastern Mennonite is now 0-5 as they prepare for an even more challenging weekend at home. The men host No. 7 Stevenson and No. 2 Stevens in a tri-match next Saturday, with the first match at 11:00am.
Elmira 3, EMU 2
The loss to Elmira was full of wild swings and momentum changes, starting from the first touch.
EMU started the match with a kill from senior R.J. Ocampo (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) and surged to an 8-3 lead. The margin remained at five at 11-6 before the Soaring Eagles took off. Elmira ended on a 19-6 steak, winning 25-17.
The Royals held a small edge most of the second set before Elmira snuck ahead 21-20. But a 4-0 run put the men back in the driver's seat and Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) hammered a kill to close the set, 25-22.
The third set was even more back-and-forth, as each team made short runs. EMU had the final run, however, with a 3-0 spurt giving them a 28-26 win.
Neither team led by more than two points in the fourth, and the Royals served for the match at 25-24. A pair of two-point jabs turned the tables, however, as the Soaring Eagles won, 28-26.
Drew Bennett (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks) landed a pair of aces during a 5-0 run to start the fifth set. The men looked in control at 8-3 before four straight from Elmira made it interesting. EMU was still on top at 10-7, but a 6-0 run flipped momentum one final time, putting the Royals in a 13-10 hole. They wouldn't recover, as Elmira snuck out with the win in the fifth, 15-12.
Eastern Mennonite used effective net play to nearly earn their first win of the year, out-hitting Elmira .181 to .177. The biggest difference was defensively, where the men racked up 15 blocks, compared to just three from the Soaring Eagles.
Abele had an all-around effort with 18 set assists, eight kills, five blocks and five digs. Sean Wright (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) had a team high 12 kills. Bennett finished with 16 assists in his first effort as a setter.
Angelo Olayvar (Richmond, Va./Our Lady of Peace) picked up six digs.
Jose Malave led Elmira with 26 kills and four of the team's 15 aces.
No. 12 Alvernia 3, EMU 0
The men wrapped up against the host Knights, and they quickly found out why Arcadia earned their way into the national rankings.
A pair of runs pushed Arcadia to a 25-11 win in the opener and that was effectively repeated in the 25-10 second. The teams traded 5-0 runs in the third, but the Knights still controlled it, 25-16.
EMU never got their attack in order in the match, with Abele finishing with a team high four kills and four digs.
Austin Braas led Arcadia with seven kills.
Senior Travis Abele was named to the 10-person all-tournament team following play. Showing his versatility as a full-time setter on Saturday before splitting duties in a 6-2 offense on Sunday, Abele finished the three matches with 39 assists, 15 kills, 14 digs and seven blocks.