Volleyball Women Suffer Tough 3-2 Loss At St. Mary's

Freshman Hannah Johnson is fifth in the ODAC averaging 3.11 kills per set. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Freshman Hannah Johnson is fifth in the ODAC averaging 3.11 kills per set. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's volleyball women took home a pair of tough losses from Saturday's tri-match at St. Mary's College (Md.), including a tight 3-2 loss to the hosts.

Despite a current four-match losing streak, the Royals (2-4) have played some great volleyball as they head into their ODAC opener at Virginia Wesleyan on Tuesday. Game time against the Marlins, ranked No. 3 in the ODAC Preseason Poll, is set for 7:00pm.

St. Mary's 3, EMU 2
The five-setter against the host Seahawks was an epic back-and-forth, with EMU actually leading the total points tally for the match, 114-113.

The Royals were at their best in set one, hitting .207 as a team and ending on a 12-2 run to win, 25-14.

EMU carried momentum into an 8-1 lead in the second, only to see St. Mary's tie it up at 14-14. Each team served for set point before the Seahawks used their blockers to score the final three in a 28-26 decision.

The third set was full of wild swings. The Royals took an early lead before SMC flipped ahead 15-9. A 5-0 run locked up the score at 17-17, but the hosts answered with their own 5-0 streak and worked to a 24-20 lead. EMU scored four straight points to stay alive and fended off a total of seven set points before back-to-back kills from Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) clinched a 30-28 win for a 2-1 lead.

The Seahawks jumped to an early lead in the fourth and never let the women back in, earning a fifth set with a 25-17 score.

The final set was as wild as the third, starting with St. Mary's running to a 7-3 lead. Still trailing 8-4, the Royals rattled off seven straight to take an 11-8 lead on an ace serve from Candice Shaheen (Scottsville, Va./Fluvanna County). A kill from Johnson gave EMU match point at 14-11, but the Seahawks scored three straight to tie it. Eastern Mennonite had two more match points at 15-14 and 16-15 before three unanswered points swung the momentum one final time for an 18-16 St. Mary's win.

Most team stats were nearly identical, with the biggest difference coming at the service line. EMU had eight aces against eight service errors, while the Seahawks landed 11 aces against just six errors.

Johnson led all players as she doubled up her previous career high with 24 kills. The freshman also had 15 digs. Erin Brubaker (Goessel, Kan./Goessel) was the only other efficient attacker, adding seven kills. Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) put up 34 assists and 17 digs.

Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) tied her career high with seven blocks while Meredith Stinnette (Lynch Station, Va./Altavista) got in on four. Yoder also had three service aces.

Shaheen was one of five Royals in double figures in digs, racking up 28.

McDaniel 3, EMU 0
The Royals had a letdown against a good McDaniel team and trailed off with losses of 25-21, 25-13 and 25-19.

Brubaker landed six kills while Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) and Kara Smith (Hayes, Va./Gloucester) had four and three blocks, respectively.

Gingerich added 11 assists and 11 digs. Shaheen had 13 digs out of the back row.