The Eastern Mennonite University volleyball women completed a dramatic comeback Friday night, winning the final three sets in a key ODAC road victory over Randolph College, 3-2.
The Royals improve to 11-10 overall and 4-6 in the ODAC with the win. The 11 wins are tied for the most by an EMU team since 2001. And the fourth Old Dominion Athletic Conference victory is the most since a 4-6 season in 2002.
More importantly, EMU stays in the hunt for a spot in the ODAC Tournament. The Royals are 4-6, while Randolph falls to 4-7. Emory & Henry sits at 3-5. The three teams are likely vying for the final berth in the eight-team conference tourney.
The women stay at Randolph College to complete an ODAC quad match on Saturday, taking on Guilford at 1:30pm.
Struggling at serve receive, the Royals fell in a quick hole against Randolph and dropped the opener, 25-12. The second set was much the same in a 25-16 loss.
But the tide quickly turned in the third, as EMU switched to a 5-1 offense. The passing solidified and the women surprised the WildCats with a 25-15 decision. Randolph regrouped in the fourth, but EMU still won, 25-20.
The fifth encapsulated the back-and-forth nature of the match into one set. The Royals kept their momentum and worked to a sizeable lead, only to watch the WildCats streak back and forge a tie at 12-12. Kara Durren (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) dropped in back-to-back kills to push the women up to match point, but Randolph got a kill to stay alive. Clinging to the one-point lead, EMU clinched the 15-13 win when Durren sent a free ball just over the right side of the net and the WildCats' defense couldn't get a clean dig on it.
Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) led all players with 18 kills, 23 digs and four ace serves. Durren finished one short of her season high with nine kills along with three blocks. Meredith Stinnette (Altavista, Va./Altavista) hammered a season best 12 kills. Andrea Troyer (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) added eight kills and four blocks.
Tori Wigley (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) responded well to being the lone setter over the final three sets and easily set a new career high with 43 assists.