After dropping the first set to visiting St. Andrews, the Eastern Mennonite University men's volleyball team took over for a 3-1 season-opening win on Sunday.
Earning a win over a team that went to the NAIA National Tournament last spring was a fantastic start to the year for the young Royals team. EMU will look to continue their momentum next Saturday in a tri-match in Cincinnati, playing Mount St. Joseph and Medaille.
St. Andrews (1-2), playing a match for the third straight day, looked more comfortable on the floor in the opening set, sprinting to a 5-1 lead and rolling to a 25-19 win.
EMU gained some momentum with a run late in the first and it carried into the second set where they landed kills for the first three points. St. Andrews tied the score at 5-5, but the men scored the next three and they held a small edge the rest of the way. Jacob Durren (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) landed the final kill for a 25-23 win.
The important third set featured seven ties and four lead changes, but all came early. Trailing 11-8, the Royals called a timeout and quickly turned things around. Freshman Ben Childers (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) had three kills during a 7-0 run that flipped EMU in front, 15-11. SAU got within a single point five different times after that, but the Royals held them off every time. Childers fittingly landed the clinching kill for a 25-22 win.
The men then broke open a close fourth set with 4-0 and 5-0 runs, pushing a 17-10 lead. St. Andrews scraped within 21-20 before the Royals finished them off. Durren earned the final two points with a kill and solo block for a 25-22 win.
EMU out-hit St. Andrews .185 to .114, including impressive numbers of .364 in the third set and .345 in the fourth. Childers and Josh White (Chesapeake, Va./Bishop Sullivan) each landed 11 kills. Drew Bennett (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks) put down 10 kills with 12 assists. Wyatt Bollinger (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) set up 26 assists.
Defensively, Durren had five blocks, including two solo. Martin Pou (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) added four blocks. Freshman libero Jack Corl (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) led all players with 12 digs.
Jacob DeSouza led the Knights with 15 kills, 10 digs and four blocks.