The Lady Royals have topped their 2010 win total, and all within the first month of the 2011 season. Thursday night the women swept a match at Ferrum, taking three tight decisions to move to 5-11 on the season.
Eastern Mennonite took a small advantage early in set one and led by as many as eight at 18-10. But the Panthers closed within three before the women closed things out at 25-20 on a solo block from Kyla Moorefield (Danville, VA/Tunstall).
In game two, EMU grabbed a quick 5-0 lead but the home team regrouped and went in front 8-7. The Lady Royals later scored four straight to break off a 17-17 tie. Ferrum got within one at 23-22 but a service error and then kill from Moorefield gave the women a 25-22 decision.
Game three was even tighter after EMU took an 8-2 lead. The Panthers never took the lead, but had the score tied at 16-16, 18-18 and 20-20. The Lady Royals kept their composure and Sara Ritchie (Harrisonburg, VA/Turner Ashby) had a pair of kills down the stretch to seal a 25-23 win.
Senior Tabitha Bowman (Waynesboro, VA/Stuarts Draft) led all players with nine kills. Moorefield finished with a line of seven kills, two service aces, a solo block and two block assists.
Mattie Lehman (New Paris, IN/Bethany Christian) had 26 set assists and four of EMU's nine service aces. Amber Loftin (Madison Heights, VA/Amherst) played one game and finished with two kills, an ace and a block assist.
In the back row, Brittany Childress (Gloucester, VA/Christchurch) led the way with eight digs.
With the non-conference win, the Lady Royals improve to 5-11. They finished 4-21 last year. EMU stays out of the ODAC this weekend, playing at a tri-match hosted by Marymount in Arlington, VA. The women play the host school at 1:00pm Saturday followed by St. Vincent at 3:00pm.