HARRISONBURG, Va. — Goucher's season began with a pair of matches at the Eastern Mennonite Invitational this evening. After a thrilling five set come-from-behind victory over Hood, the Gophers did not have quite enough left in the tank against the Royals, settling for a split under new head coach Kelli Wilkinson.
Goucher fell behind two sets to none against Hood. After falling 25-23 in the first, the Gophers dropped a tight 26-24 decision in the following set. The Blazers held a 13-12 advantage in the third as well, but Goucher took the next two points to jump in front and never trailed again in the frame. A kill from Michelle Tweedie (Accra, Ghana/Lincoln Community School) gave the Gophers a 25-20 set win.
Hood again had a chance to finish off the match in the following set, grabbing a 22-17 lead before Goucher rallied once more. A pair of aces from Erika DiPasquale (Paramus, N.J./Paramus) aided the rally, and a kill from Hannah Kuehl (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth Regional) finished off the set at 25-23.
The Gophers then cruised to a 15-6 victory in the fifth and final set. Goucher had only two five-set victories back in 2013, and this was the team's first win after trailing by two sets since October, 2010 against Scranton.
Kuehl led the way with 12 kills for Goucher while Tweedie added 10. Corinne Kahler (York, Pa./York Country Day) registered nine kills and 12 digs, while Meredith Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) had a team-high 16 digs.
In the night match against Eastern Mennonite, the Gophers carried their momentum through the opening set, as they edged out a 25-23 victory. The Royals, though, grabbed the next three sets by scores of 26-24, 25-17 and 26-24.
Kahler had seven kills and 16 digs to pace Goucher in the night cap. Sarah Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) added 19 digs and a pair of aces.
The Gophers conclude play at the invitational tomorrow with a pair of matches against Mary Baldwin and Salem.