The Eastern Mennonite University volleyball women shook off a slow start to grit out a 3-1 win over visiting Goucher Friday night in Harrisonburg.
Improving to 12-12 with the win, this is the latest in the year that the Royals have been at .500 since 2001 when they finished the year at 14-13.
EMU has two non-conference matches left on the schedule, including Wednesday's home finale when they host Mount Aloysius at 5:00pm. Bridgewater will also play Mount Aloysius that night in Yoder Arena.
The Royals missed leading hitter Hannah Johnson (Staunton, Va./Wilson Memorial) in the opening set against Goucher, falling in a quick 9-1 hole. Johnson missed practice Thursday because of an illness, and therefore sat out the first set due to a team policy. The women recovered, but could never overcome that early deficit in a 25-21 loss.
An Andrea Troyer (Harrisonburg, Va./Broadway) kill gave Eastern Mennonite the first point in the second set, but the Gophers didn't fold simply because of Johnson's return. The teams locked horns in a fantastic back-and-forth with Goucher eventually using a 4-0 run to tie the score at 19-19. But EMU landed a pair of aces as they closed the set on a 6-1 run, winning 25-20.
The Royals scored first in the swing set and never trailed, but Goucher made it very interesting. Another 4-0 run from the visitors earned a late tie at 23-23, and back-to-back attack errors left the squads tied at 24-24. Eastern Mennonite then had the final push, scoring twice to win 26-24.
EMU looked on cruise control with an early 7-2 lead in the fourth, but the Gophers recovered in what turned out to be the tightest set of the night, featuring nine ties and five lead changes. Goucher scored twice to take a 20-18 lead and force an EMU timeout, but three straight points put the Royals back in front. GC forged ties at 21-21 and 22-22 until Troyer and Johnson each landed a kill to set up match point at 24-22. The visitors scored once before Meredith Stinnette (Altavista, Va./Altavista) had the final say with a kill, closing a 25-23 finale.
Johnson finished with 11 kills and 24 digs, coming one shy of her career high in digs despite playing only three sets. Troyer had nine kills and five blocks. Stinnette finished with 10 kills, while Amy Goodman (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) had eight kills and three stuffs.