Despite a CVC loss at Stevenson on Saturday, EMU's volleyball men finished the regular season on a winning note as they head into their first-ever CVC Tournament. The Royals took a 3-1 win over Penn State-Altoona to wrap up Saturday's tri-match in Owings Mills, Md., pushing their record to 21-10.
Eastern Mennonite, the No. 14 team in the AVCA national poll, will head to Arlington, Va., on Friday for the four-team CVC Tournament. As the fourth seed in the tourney, the Royals (9-5 CVC) get a tough draw, taking on top-seeded and No. 8 Marymount University at 1:00pm. The Saints (19-9/13-1 CVC) are hosting the postseason tourney.
Juniata and Stevenson meet in the other semifinal. The championship match is Saturday at 6:00pm with the winner earning an automatic bid to the 12-team NCAA National Tournament.
Stevenson 3, EMU 0
The set tally only deceptively told the story of this CVC clash, where the winner would earn the third seed in the conference tournament. Although the Mustangs won all three sets on their home court, the sets were decided by a total of just seven points.
Stevenson built a big lead in the opener and held off a late charge from the Royals for a 25-22 final.
The second set was wild, with EMU scoring first and leading by as many as five at 15-10. SU eventually tied the score at 19-19 and got in front at 21-20. The Royals scored the next three to re-take a 23-21 lead before the home team answered with their own 3-0 run. The men had it tied at 24-24 before Landon Shorts notched back-to-back kills to give Stevenson the win, 26-24.
The Mustangs started strong in the third before EMU scraped back to within one point at 23-22 and 24-23. But an SU kill closed the match at 25-23.
Eastern Mennonite hit very well in the match at .287, but couldn't stop Stevenson's outsides, as SU hit .330.
Josh Elmore (Chester, Va./Matoaca) smacked 16 kills at a .393 clip, adding three blocks. Scott Brigham (Montpelier, Va./Patrick Henry) put down 10 kills. Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) added eight kills and a pair of blocks. Setter Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) put up 38 assists.
Libero Micah Buller (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) had eight digs.
Shorts led Stevenson with 16 kills and a .577 kill percentage. Jason Gardner added 13 kills and nine digs.
EMU 3, Penn State-Altoona 1
The Royals turned it around quickly against Penn State-Altoona, scoring a 7-1 start and winning the opener, 25-17. They took over early in the second and carried it to the finish, 25-20.
The third set went back-and-forth, with the Lions using a late 3-0 run to get front and stay alive, 25-22.
EMU struck an 11-2 run early in the fourth and leveraged it to a 25-22 final.
Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) led a balanced attack with 13 kills. Brigham and Tim Callahan (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) each added 11, while Brigham also had 11 digs. Taylor racked up 51 assists.
Defensively, Lutz got his hands on nine of EMU's ten blocks, including three solo stuffs. Buller had a team best 12 digs.
Jacob Byers led Penn State-Altoona with 18 kills and three solo blocks.