EMU's volleyball men wrapped up their early-Spring Break homestand with a Monday afternoon match against Wittenberg. The Royals played well at different points, but couldn't keep momentum going in a 3-0 loss.
Now 3-15 overall, the men have a break before returning to action in a tri-match on Saturday, March 16. EMU plays St. John Fisher and host SUNY New Paltz that day in New Paltz, N.Y.
Wittenberg (12-8) jumped out to a quick lead in the first set and stayed on top. The Royals got within two a handful of times before falling, 25-20.
EMU turned things around from the opening of the second set, scoring the first five points. They still led 17-12 after a kill from R.J. Ocampo (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial). But the Tigers unleashed a 5-0 run to skip in front, and added another 3-0 jab to make it 22-19.
Despite giving up the lead, the Royals fended off three straight match points before locking up the score at 24-24. Wittenberg continued to hold the upper hand, but EMU kept answering until the visitors finally got the winner at 28-26.
That seemed to finish off the men, as the Tigers scored the first point in the third set and slowly marched to a 25-17 clincher.
EMU had a strong presence on the defensive side of the net, racking up 10 blocks as a team. Ocampo had a pair of solo stuffs and eight overall, doubling his previous season high. Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) tied his career high with five blocks and led all players with 11 digs. Offensively, Abele was on point, hammering 18 kills with a .387 kill percentage. The total was just one off his career high of 19 kills in a five-setter against UC Santa Cruz last year, and was easily his career best from a three-set match.
Sean Wright (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) added seven kills. Wyatt Bollinger (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) dished out 30 assists, tying his career high. He also had both of EMU's two service aces.
Libero Austin Tomlin (Greenville, Va./Riverheads) had eight digs and was perfect in his 22 serve receives.
Deion Woodson led Wittenberg with 11 kills and Gabriel Lamar had seven kills and three blocks.
R.J. Ocampo continues his rise up the EMU Career Blocks list. Heading into the final weeks of the season, he now has 290 blocks, good for No. 5 on the program's career list. Matt Musselman is No. 4 at 318.
Thanks to his ability to play multiple positions, Travis Abele has already accomplished a rare triple fete, surpassing 100 kills, assists and digs this season. Abele is No. 9 all-time with 539 career digs, chasing down former teammates William Ragland and Tim Callahan, who have 551 and 556, respectively. Abele is also within range of the Top 15 list for career kills at 628. Mike Osinski is No. 15 with 640.