Elmira And Arcadia Give Royals The Slip

Freshman Drew Bennett started all three matches over the weekend. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Freshman Drew Bennett started all three matches over the weekend. (photo by Scott Eyre)

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.

Jacob Durren (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) set a new best with six blocks. Hunter Taylor (Ashland, Va./Patrick Henry) had five and Ocampo got in on four, while they each added seven kills as well.

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.

All-Tournament Team
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.