EMU's volleyball women have had a tough slate of opponents to open the 2017 season. Thursday night in Harrisonburg it was ODAC preseason favorite Randolph-Macon. The Royals played well at times, pushing R-MC in the second set especially, before eventually dropping a 3-0 decision.
The women fall to 3-10 on the year, with three of those losses coming from teams receiving votes in the national poll (Randolph-Macon, Washington and Lee, and Mount Union), while a fourth opponent, Baldwin Wallace, is currently 14-0 on the year.
This coming week, the Royals will get a chance to bring their 1-3 ODAC record up to a level reflective of their improving talent with matches at Emory & Henry and hosting Guilford. Those two teams were picked eighth and sixth, respectively, in the conference's preseason poll, and Eastern Mennonite needs wins over those programs to boost their chances to get back to the ODAC Tournament.
The women also host non-conference North Carolina Wesleyan next Friday night.
Against Randolph-Macon (11-3/4-0 ODAC), who has won the last two ODAC titles, the Royals fell in a quick hole and lost the opener, 25-14.
They scored the first three points of the second, though, and looked ready to raise some eyebrows with a 5-1 lead. The Yellow Jackets answered with a quick 7-0 run to jump in front, but the Royals did not fold and returned fire with their own 7-0 run to go back up, 12-8. EMU's tough serving during the streak at one point forced back-to-back timeouts for visiting Randolph-Macon.
The women clung to their advantage until 17-16, when the Yellow Jackets rattled off five unanswered points to take over, 21-17. R-MC ended on a 9-2 run to win the set, 25-19.
Eastern Mennonite again took a quick lead in the third, and still held an 8-6 edge, before the Yellow Jackets zipped an 8-1 run. The Royals did not recover from there in a 25-14 final.
Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) led EMU with seven kills, while Kara Smith (Hayes, Va./Gloucester) and Janna Williams (Kenbridge, Va./Kenston Forest) chipped in four apiece. Jasmine Johnson (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) lofted 14 set assists.
Miranda Hall led R-MC's balanced attacked with 10 kills. Mariah Clark added nine. Samantha Sallade topped all players with 13 digs.