EMU's volleyball women used good serving and timely hitting to push Virginia Wesleyan in the ODAC opener for both teams before the Marlins escaped with a 3-0 decision.
Despite the loss, Eastern Mennonite certainly had their moments against the No. 3 team in the ODAC's preseason poll. The Royals slip to 2-5 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.
After starting the night with a service ace, EMU gave up nine straight points to fall into a quick hole. The Royals answered with an 11-4 run to get within two points, at 17-15, but Virginia Wesleyan held the edge to a 25-20 finish.
The early points of the second set were back-and-forth until the Royals rattled off nine in a row to build a 20-13 lead. EMU led by as much as 22-14 and served for set point at 24-18. But after a couple of attack errors from the Royals, VWU's attack took off, turning into eight unanswered points to steal the set, 26-24, as well as the momentum.
The women regrouped for the first half of the third set, trailing only 15-12, before the Marlins ran to the finish, 25-15.
Eastern Mennonite put in eight service aces against just five errors and hit .172 as a team. VWU had a similar nine-to-seven ace-to-error ratio, but made up the difference by hitting .343.
Freshman Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) had 10 kills and a match high 15 digs, while middle hitter Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) knocked down five kills. Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) put up 18 assists.
Virginia Wesleyan had four players with nine or more kills, led by 13 from Amber Matalus.
The Royals are scheduled to head to Elizabethtown, Pa., this weekend for the Blue Jay Classic. EMU plays host Elizabethtown Friday night, followed by Cairn and Rowan on Saturday.