Sept. 2 –HARRISONBURG, Va. - The Goucher College volleyball program opened the 2016 season, dropping a 3-0 decision to Eastern Mennonite University on Friday evening. The Gophers dropped the match by set scores of 25-20, 26-24 and 25-20.
The two teams traded the first three points in the opening set, before the host Royals put together a 6-2 run to open a 9-5 advantage. From there, however, Goucher would put together a 3-0 run to pull the score within one, including a service ace from Jess Jamesyon.
Later in the set, Goucher found themselves down 17-10, before a 7-2 surge pulled the Gophers within two. Meredith Johnson led the run, posting a pair of kills, while Kelly Budge tallied the final kill of the run to pull the score to 19-17.
Eastern Mennonite would close out the first set on a 6-3 run, taking the opening game by a score of 25-20.
Set number two came down to the wire as the game saw 10 ties and seven lead changes. Trailing 11-9 midway through the set, the Gophers put together a 4-0 run to capture a 13-11 advantage. Budge scored a kill and a service ace in the run, while Sarah Weeden added a kill of her own.
The lead for the Gophers would extend to as many as three, before a four-point run by the hosts flipped the advantage to 20-19.
Goucher would come right back, receiving a pair of Kills from Weeden to spark a 5-2 run and get to set point, 24-22. However, the Royals would respond with a 4-0 swing to steal the second set, 26-24.
In set three, the Gophers would open on a 5-2 run, including back-to-back service aces from Rachel Keifer. Then, leading by just one point (6-5), the Gophers broke off an 8-2 run, to open the lead to 14-7.
However, from there the Royals would storm back with a 9-2 advantage to knot the game at 16-16. The hosts would then push their way past the Gophers to take the third set, 25-20, handing Goucher their first defeat of the season.
Offensively for Goucher, Weeden led the charge, finishing the game with her first-career double-double. The first-year player totaled 11 kills, while adding 10 digs and a block. Budge totaled nine kills, while Johnson finished with six.
First-year setter Olivia Rhodes played well in her first start, posting 26 assists, six digs and four kills. Defensively, Johnson led the way with 13 digs.
As a team, the Gopher defense hung tough, holding their opponents to a hitting percentage of .128.
The Goucher Volleyball team will be back in action on Saturday, September 3 when they compete in the second day of the Eastern Mennonite Invitational. The Gophers will take on Bridgewater (Va.) at 10 a.m., before squaring off with Salem at noon.