For a set and a half, the Royals had their swag. But some tough serving midway through the second set changed the momentum of the game, as the EMU volleyball women suffered a 3-1 loss to St. Mary's at home Wednesday night.
The Royals slide to 3-2 as they prepare to wrap up their season-opening homestand with a tri-match this Saturday. Eastern Mennonite welcomes in Hood and Lancaster Bible, with play starting Saturday at 11:00am.
The Royals got all that they expected from their regular non-conference back-and-forth battle with St. Mary's. Serving made the difference in the opener, as Sarah East (Washington, Va./Rappahannock County) had back-to-back aces during a 5-0 run which flipped the Royals ahead, 22-18. Tori Wigley (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) then finished off a 25-19 win with her team's fourth ace.
The going looked good in the second, as EMU raced to a 20-13 lead. But the Seahawks unleashed four aces during a deflating 8-0 run to take over the lead. The women had their visitors tied up at 21-21 and 22-22, but SMC landed three straight points to win, 25-22.
It seemed like the Royals had regrouped in the third by jumping to a 14-7 advantage but St. Mary's quickly closed the gap and tied the score at 17-17. EMU still held the lead at 22-20, but they couldn't close the door. The Seahawks did, winning 25-23 on back-to-back aces.
SMC etched an early 6-3 lead in the fourth, and never gave it up. They led by as many as six en route to a 25-20 closer.
Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) was EMU's only consistent offensive weapon, hitting 13 kills. She also had a match best 17 digs. Meredith Stinnette (Lynch Station, Va./Altavista) had eight kills while Amy Goodman (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) added seven.
Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) and Wigley combined for 31 set assists and six service aces.
Chanel Lucas led St. Mary's with 17 kills.