Playing their seventh nationally ranked opponent just 12 games into the season, EMU's young volleyball men showed improvement in a 3-1 loss at No. 14 Juniata College Saturday night. It was the first time the Royals have taken a set against one of their ranked opponents.
Eastern Mennonite (1-11/1-4 CVC) steps out of conference play next weekend when they host Mount St. Joseph and No. 12 Lancaster Bible in a tri-match on Saturday. The first match starts at noon.
In Saturday's contest against the Eagles, the first two sets had similar feels, as the home team slowly built up a margin in wins, 25-16 and 25-14.
But the Royals started quickly in the third, as a block from Jacob Durren (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) and Martin Pou (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) put them ahead 3-0. That was the first of three blocks, helping to build a 19-12 lead. The men had the edge at eight points at 24-16, before holding off the Eagles in a 25-22 win.
The teams stayed close in the fourth until Juniata had a 4-0 run to push their lead to 17-11. EMU ended with streak with a kill from senior R.J. Ocampo (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial), but the damage had been done, as the Eagles flew away, 25-14.
Pou continued his rapid development with nine kills and two blocks. Sean Wright (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) landed eight kills with no errors on just 11 swings. Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) offered up 26 assists, six kills and seven digs. Durren finished with five kills and three blocks.
Juniata's Joe Fick led all players with 18 kills and eight digs.