EMU's volleyball women had a tall task to open the 2017 season, taking on Catholic and Salem on day one of the EMU Invitational. The Royals dropped both contests to the talented opponents, and will look for their first win on Saturday when the invite wraps up.
The women play Methodist at 11:00am and wrap up their play against Mary Baldwin at 1:00pm.
Catholic 3, EMU 0
The Royals scored the first two points against CUA and took a 4-1 lead. Nevertheless, the traditionally powerful Cardinals scored four in a row to go in front and eventually led 21-15. Eastern Mennonite rattled off four unanswered to get within two before Catholic scored their own four to win, 25-19.
Set two was tight until late, when the Cardinals closed on a 7-1 run to win, 25-17.
Set three was back-and-forth with the teams trading big runs. EMU used a 4-0 streak to grab a 20-18 lead, but Catholic had the final push, using another 7-1 run to clinch the match, 25-21.
Meredith Stinnette (Lynch Station, Va./Altavista) had eight kills to lead the women. Middle Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) added five kills and five blocks. Jasmine Johnson (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) just missed a double double with 12 assists and nine digs.
Libero Skyler Johnson (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) led the defensive effort with 14 digs.
Patricia Martinez paced CUA with 15 kills and 16 digs.
Salem 3, EMU 0
The final match of the night was against the resurgent Spirits. The young opponents surged to a 15-9 lead before a block from Hoskins and Erin Brubaker (Goessel, Kan./Goessel) got the Royals within 17-16. Salem kept their edge, however, and scored the final four to take the opener, 25-19.
The visitors scored the first four in the second and rode that cushion most of the set. Kate Kauffman (Pettisville, Ohio/Pettisville) had a pair of aces in a 4-0 run to get EMU within 17-15. The deficit returned to six before the Royals came back again, scoring five unanswered to make it 22-21. But that was as close as Salem would let the women get, eventually claiming a 25-22 decision.
The third set was close early before Salem used a prolonged 15-5 run to open up a 23-12 cushion. The Royals showed some grit by answering with a 9-1, getting within 24-21, before a Spirit kill closed the night.
Janna Williams (Kenbridge, Va./Kenston Forest) led all players with eight kills while Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) added seven. Jasmine Johnson had 13 assists and freshman Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) added 10 digs and eight assists. Skyler Johnson was all over the back half of the court, racking up a match high 23 digs.
Kylie Taffer led Salem's balanced attack with seven kills. Setter Hannah Delcamp had 12 assists and 15 digs.