Royals Sweep Randolph And Dickinson On Senior Day

(l-r) Janna Williams, Jasmine Johnson, Skyler Johnson, Sam Jacob and Alexa Weeks each played all four years for the Royals. (photo by James DeBoer)
(l-r) Janna Williams, Jasmine Johnson, Skyler Johnson, Sam Jacob and Alexa Weeks each played all four years for the Royals. (photo by James DeBoer)
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EMU's volleyball women picked up a pair of hard earned sweeps at home on Saturday, including a crucial ODAC win over Randolph College. The Royals improved to 10-15, earning their second straight season with double-digit wins.

The victory over Randolph looked vital towards securing a spot in the ODAC Tournament, giving EMU the head-to-head tiebreaker as the teams are now even at 3-7 in the ODAC with one conference match remaining. However, Shenandoah's surprising win over Roanoke forged a three-way tie for eighth place and the final tourney bid.

Shenandoah seems to hold the edge if the three teams remain in a tie after next weekend's finales, putting pressure on Eastern Mennonite to upset Bridgewater (7-3 ODAC) Friday night on the road. Shenandoah hosts second-place Washington and Lee on Tuesday, while Randolph is at Lynchburg (6-4 ODAC) on Friday.

The Royals play one more non-conference match as well, hosting Mary Baldwin Thursday night at 7:00pm in Yoder Arena.

EMU 3, Randolph 0
After back-to-back aces put them in a hole to start the day, the Royals settled down against Randolph. A 6-0 run gave the women their first lead at 18-14, which they extended to 22-15. The WildCats came clawing back to get within three before a service ace from Jasmine Johnson (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) closed a 25-20 win.

Serving was again a key in the second where Eastern Mennonite unleashed an incredible 14-0 run to open up a 15-3 cushion. Randolph answered with the next five points, and later used a 7-0 run to shockingly take a lead at 22-20. The Royals fought back with a 3-0 jab to serve for set point at 24-23. After the WildCats got a kill to tie things up at 24-24, EMU got back-to-back points to take the wild set, 26-24, on a block from Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) and Alexa Weeks (Montross, Va./Washington & Lee).

Randolph opened the third with a 6-1 lead before the women responded with a 4-0 streak to get within one. A 3-0 surge gave EMU a 17-14 margin, which they pushed to 24-18. The WildCats fought off four match points before Amy Goodman (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) closed things down with a kill for a 25-22 win.

Goodman finished with a match high 10 kills while senior Janna Williams (Kenbridge, Va./Kenston Forest) added nine kills and a team-best .280 attack percentage. Yoder had six kills and four blocks while Weeks put up five kills and three blocks.

Jasmine Johnson had 18 assists while Carly Gingerich (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) added 13. Sam Jacob (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) dropped in three aces. Kate Kauffman (Pettisville, Ohio/Pettisville) was all over the back row and racked up 28 digs in the three sets.

Shelby Bergum and Autumn Troxell each had five kills and three blocks for a balanced Randolph effort.

EMU 3, Dickinson 0
The close the Senior Day tri-match, the Royals took another sweep, this time against non-conference opponent Dickinson. The Royals opened a lead early and never let up to win the opener, 25-15.

EMU led by as many as five points in the second before the Red Devils slowly came back. Weeks finally landed a kill to close out a 25-23 win. The teams traded leads in the third set before a 3-0 run from DC tied the score at 23-23. Yoder landed a kill and Jasmine Johnson landed an ace squarely in the middle of the back line to finish the sweep with another 25-23 score.

Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) led the Royals with 10 kills on 21 swings, along with three blocks. Yoder had six kills and no errors on nine attacks. Williams also added six kills.

Jasmine Johnson had 15 assists while Gingerich added 11. Kauffman had another great effort filling in at libero with 15 digs.

Norma Jean Park led Dickinson with 12 kills. Libero Tatiana Lopez led all players with 18 digs.

Senior Recognition
The team also honored their five seniors before the Dickinson match: Jasmine Johnson, Skyler Johnson (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg), Alexa Weeks, Sam Jacob and Janna Williams. Setter Jasmine Johnson is second in EMU history with 2,276 career assists. Skyler Johnson is sixth with 1,239 career digs, and was the only of the five not playing a major role in Saturday's wins after suffering a leg injury in Wednesday's loss to Shenandoah.