Led by 14 service aces, the Eastern Mennonite University volleyball women rolled over Mary Baldwin Thursday night by a final of 3-1.
Now 7-2 on the year, EMU is off to their best start this millennium.
Even with tougher matches on the horizon, the Royals are playing with a confidence that should serve them well as they look to return to the ODAC Tournament for just the second time since 2007.
Visiting Mary Baldwin put up a solid fight from the opening serve, scoring the first two points. But with freshman Sarah East (Washington, Va./Rappahannock County) at the service line, Eastern Mennonite rattled off an 8-0 run to grab control at 16-6. The points kept rolling to a 25-10 finish.
MBU got an early edge in the second as well and still led 16-15. But a 6-0 jab from the Royals turned the tables and Meredith Stinnette (Lynch Station, Va./Altavista) landed kills for the women's final two points in a 25-19 win.
In the third, the Fighting Squirrels again scored first but this time kept the edge. A 7-0 run blew open a 20-10 margin which still held at 24-17. EMU was not done, however, rattling off seven unanswered points to surprisingly tie up the score at 24-24 on an ace from East. But as quickly as the tide had turned, it turned again, with Mary Baldwin getting two quick points to prevail, 26-24.
Set four was tight until East dropped in back-to-back-to-back aces during a 6-0 run, making for a 13-8 lead. The Royals didn't give up the edge, finally ending the night on a big swing from Abby Sherman (Bremo Bluff, Va./Fluvanna County) for a 25-16 final.
The women hit .243 as a team in the win and impressively had 14 aces against just six service errors. East dropped in six of the aces, a high for any EMU player this year.
Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) led the offense with 10 kills but blew by her career high in digs with 25. Andrea Troyer (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) landed eight kills on just 13 swings and Stinnette also had eight kills. Abbi Hawkins (Middlebury, Ind./Bethany Christian) led the setting corps with 22 assists.
Rachel Christian led Mary Baldwin with 12 kills and 12 digs.
The Royals have nearly a week off before their next match, hosting ODAC opponent Virginia Wesleyan next Wednesday.