It was only fitting that the CVC Tournament semifinals match between Marymount University and Eastern Mennonite University ended on a block. The #4 seed Eastern Mennonite recorded 20 blocks in the match as they blocked the path to a title for #1 seed Marymount University.
The top-seeded and host Marymount jumped out to a 2-0 set lead in the match, winning 25-17 and 31-29 but it was the defense of Eastern Mennonite that slowed down the Saints attack and ended up being the difference maker in the match.
Marymount led 9-7 in the opening points of the first set before going on a 5-1 run, highlighted by three kills, and cruising to a 25-17 win in the set. The Saints offense hit .371 in the set with 17 kills and even topped those impressive numbers in their second set. The Saints put down 20 kills while hitting .410 in the second set, a marathon set that ended with a 31-29 score.
In the second set, the Royals scored the first three points and took a 9-4 lead. But the Saints slowly worked their way back into the match, tying it at 16-16 after a kill from Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz. It appeared as though neither team wanted to close out the set however with both teams committing multiple service errors late. It wasn't until Kziazkiewicz put the Saints one point away from a set win until the two teams ended the set on a Royal attack error. The second set alone featured 15 ties and three lead changes.
The third set started out with the Royals holding a 10-9 lead and would soon see them push their edge to four points after kills from William Ragland and Josh Elmore and then a block by Ragland. In what would be the theme of the match the Royals defense began to frustrate the Saints attack. After the Saints closed the score to 17-16 it was Tim Callahan and Dan Lutz that teamed up for one of the Royals seven blocks in the third set to keep the Saints at bay. The duo added another block on the next point to give the Royals further breathing room at 21-16 with Ragland ending the set on a kill for the final score of 25-18.
With momentum on their side, the Royals tallied the first six points of the fourth set, cruising to a 25-13 win and drawing the match even at two sets each. Marymount took a 5-3 lead in the fifth set but once more the Royals turned to their defense to make the stand. R.J. Ocampo tied the score up at 7-7 and after a kill from Callahan the Royals made the mid-set court switch with an 8-7 lead. Callahan and Ocampo opened up the Royals lead with another block as the Saints were unable to get the score back within a point for the remainder of the set; allowing Eastern Mennonite to finish the match off with a 15-12 win.
Eastern Mennonite hit .275 as a team, with 56 kills and 17 errors, but it was their 32 combined blocks that propelled them to the win in their first CVC Tournament appearance. William Ragland led the Royals with 18 kills while Micah Buller added 16 digs. Dan Lutz finished with 11 kills and 10 combined blocks. Eastern Mennonite improves to 19-10 overall and advances to the 2017 CVC Championship match tomorrow at 6 p.m. where they will face the winner of the second semifinals match between #2 Juniata College and #3 Stevenson University.
After hitting .371 and .410 in the first two sets of the match the Saints failed to hit above .030 in the final three sets, finishing the day with a .174 team mark on 62 kills with 34 errors. TJ Wiechecki led the way with 31 kills while Erich Bratke finished with 58 assists. Marymount falls to 22-10 on the season.