Just four days after beating Mary Baldwin in Harrisonburg, the Lady Royals headed to Staunton for a rematch. The location made a big difference as the Fighting Squirrels slipped by EMU in a five-set thriller.
Eastern Mennonite had a strong finish to game one, breaking from an 11-9 lead to a 25-14 win. But errors caught up with the women in the second, as they were outscored 14-7 to close out a 25-18 loss.
The third set was again close at the beginning before Mary Baldwin finished on a 12-6 run for a 25-17 final score.
The Lady Royals regrouped in the fourth. Back-to-back kills gave EMU the edge after a 12-12 tie. The lead continued to grow and freshman Sara Ritchie (Harrisonburg, VA/Turner Ashby) wrapped up the 25-20 decision with a kill.
EMU scored the first two points in the deciding game and still led 8-6 before MBC took over with a 4-0 run. A Mattie Lehman (New Paris, IN/Bethany Christian) kill tied the score at 11-11 but the Fighting Squirrels went back in front after an EMU service error. The women survived one match point before giving up the contest with another service error, 15-13.
Errors were the deciding factor, as the Lady Royals hit just .087 as a team and made 19 service errors compared to only four aces.
Ritchie finished with a match high 12 kills and 13 digs. Tabitha Bowman (Waynesboro, VA/Stuarts Draft) also had double digit kills with 11.
The loss drops EMU to 2-3. The women head to Washington, DC, this weekend for an invitational hosted by Catholic. The Lady Royals play at 4:30pm and 6:00pm on Friday and twice again on Saturday.