Royals Start ODAC Season With Road Win

Tarynn Clark has double digit digs in each of the last two matches. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Tarynn Clark has double digit digs in each of the last two matches. (photo by Scott Eyre)

Despite a solid 5-2 start to the season, none of that mattered Tuesday night when the EMU volleyball women played their ODAC opener. The contest was at Hollins, another difference from the season-opening home stand.

After dropping the first set to the upstart Hollins crew, the Royals regrouped and won three straight to earn the come-from-behind road win. It was the first time EMU won their initial ODAC match since 2013, when they started 2-0.

Against Hollins (6-4), Eastern Mennonite fell in a quick hole as the home team jumped ahead 10-4. The women used a 6-1 run to get back within one at 13-12, but Hollins scored the next five points. Momentum swung back again, however, as the Royals had the score tied at 19-19, 20-20 and 22-22, but they could never get in front, as Hollins held on, 25-23.

Despite the loss in the opening set, the Royals started hot in the second, scoring first and jumping to a 6-1 lead. The lead never got below two points and EMU won going away, 25-14.

The swing set proved as exciting and pivotal as possible with the teams trading 3-0 runs to open. The lead went back-and-forth as neither led by more than two points until the Royals used a 3-0 jab to get ahead 21-17. Hollins fought right back, tying the score at 23-23 and again at 24-24. But EMU got the next two points to seal the key win, 26-24.

That spelled the end, as the women scored the first two points in the fourth and never trailed in a 25-13 finale.

Even though the teams came in as two of the best serving squads in the ODAC, the difference was on the offensive side of the net where EMU simply out-hit Hollins, .188 to .070. The two combined for just 10 service aces, including a season-low four for the Royals.

Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) fired her way to a match high 13 kills along with 18 digs. Amy Goodman (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) shot nine kills with a .333 attack percentage and two solo blocks, while Andrea Troyer (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) also had nine kills with four blocks.

Setters Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) and Tori Wigley (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) combined for 41 assists and 19 digs.

Tarynn Clark (Goshen, Ind./Bethany Christian) added 13 digs.

Hannah Arthur led Hollins with 11 kills.

Eastern Mennonite returns home for their next two matches, including non-conference opponent Mary Baldwin Thursday night at 7:00pm. Virginia Wesleyan then visits next Wednesday as EMU plays nine of their first ten matches in Yoder Arena.