Great service gave the Royals a historic start to the season before the volleyball women dropped a heart-wrenching five-setter at day one of the Greensboro Invitational. Eastern Mennonite (5-2) continues play Sunday in Greensboro, N.C., getting quality opponents in Piedmont and Emory & Henry.
EMU 3, Elizabeth City St. 0
The women's increased ability in serving was in the spotlight right out of the gates, with Jasmine Johnson (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) starting the match with four straight service errors. After two points for Elizabeth City St. and a pair of kills for the Royals, Meredith Stinnette (Lynch Station, Va./Altavista) dropped in another four straight aces, giving EMU a quick 10-2 cushion.
Johnson then had two more aces in a set-ending 6-0 run, settling a 25-14 opener.
The women unleased a monster 18-3 run to blow open a 25-12 win in the second.
A late 5-0 run from the D-II Vikings, Johnson fittingly ended the sweep with her 11th ace to lock up a 25-21 win.
EMU's setter totaled 11 aces and 11 assists. Stephanie Miller set the program record with 16 aces in a 2002 match. As a team, the Royals racked up 19 aces. The program record is 23 from 2001.
Janna Williams (Kenbridge, Va./Kenston Forest) led all players with seven kills. Kait Miller (Sellersville, Pa./Christopher Dock), Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) and Maria Yoder (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) each had five kills. Ginny Sorrell (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) led the back line with seven digs.
The win gave EMU a 5-1 start to the season, their best mark since before the year 2000.
Greensboro 3, EMU 2
The contest with the host Pride quickly turned into a classic, even though the Royals came out on the short end. Greensboro led by as many as six points early before the women tied up the score. The two teams went point for point until GC led 32-31. EMU then put up three straight points to roll out with a 34-32 opener.
Greensboro used a big 10-1 run midway through the second to take over a 25-21 win. Each team had short runs in the third, but the Pride had the final with a 3-0 surge locking up a 25-22 decision.
Eastern Mennonite quickly regrouped, however, and methodically worked out to a 15-7 lead in the fourth. GC never threatened from there, with EMU winning 25-16.
The fifth set was characterized by Greensboro getting a lead and the Royals coming back. The Pride led 7-4, only to see the women lock it up at 7-7. The home team then pushed back up 13-9, but Eastern Mennonite scored four in a row, including a pair of Sorrell aces, to tie it again at 13-13.
The Royals had an attack error to give up the momentum, but GC sent their serve out of bounds to re-tie it at 14-14. The Pride had one final push, however, getting a kill and a block to win the match, 16-14.
Hoskins had a career effort, landing 11 kills. The previous high match total for the freshman was seven kills. Yoder added nine while Williams put down eight. Middle Becca Hardy (Port Republic, Va./Eastern Mennonite) had seven kills through two sets before leaving with an injury.
Jasmine Johnson had 27 set assists. Skyler Johnson (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) had 12 digs and three aces. Sam Jacob (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) had a team best 17 digs while Sorrell added 15.