Utilizing a delayed start time because visiting Hollins got stuck in traffic, EMU's volleyball women came out light-hearted and ready to have fun on the court. That seemed to do the trick, as the Royals played one of their most complete matches of the year to sweep Hollins and earn their first ODAC win.
Eastern Mennonite (6-15/1-5 ODAC) opened the night with a service ace to trigger a 6-0 start and they never looked back.
Thursday's ODAC match, which had a scheduled start time of 7:00pm, finally got going an hour late because heavy traffic on I-81 bogged down Hollins (9-10/1-5 ODAC). As the Royals waited, the women played loose-hearted games in Yoder Arena and the mood carried over to the actual match.
After EMU's quick start, Hollins regrouped to get within 10-9, but the Royals rocketed to a 15-4 finish to win, 25-13.
Hollins had small margins of 1-0 and 5-4 in the second for their only leads of the night. The women took over with a 5-0 run midway through the set and held the edge to a 25-20 finish.
Tarynn Clark (Goshen, Ind./Bethany Christian) landed a pair of aces in an early 4-0 streak in the third to build some space before Amy Goodman (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) spanked three straight kills in a 5-0 run. Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) got the final set, winning the match on her birthday with her seventh kill, 25-17.
Eastern Mennonite hit .288 as a team, their third-highest total of the season. They also put in seven aces, led by four from Clark, and kept Hollins off-balance much of the night.
Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) led all players with 13 kills and 13 digs. Goodman finished with nine kills over just two sets. Kara Smith (Hayes, Va./Gloucester) put down a season high eight kills. Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) led the setting corps with 21 assists while Tori Wigley (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) added 13.
Gingerich also had eight digs while Clark had seven in two sets.
EMU's defense hindered Hollins' Deja Hadden who had 10 kills but just a .051 attack percentage. She entered the match averaging 3.73 kills per set at a .256 attack clip.
The Royals are home again on Saturday, hosting Ferrum College at 1:00pm as part of EMU Homecoming. It will also be Senior Recognition for the Royals.