Volleyball Ready for NCAA Play
(Posted November 7, 2004)
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Huntingdon, PA - The Juniata College women's volleyball team will begin play in the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday November 12 at 4:30 pm in the Mid-Atlantic Regional being held at Gettysburg College. Juniata will play the winner of the match between fourth seed Frostburg State and fifth seed Salisbury State. The Mid-Atlantic Region Championship match will be held on Saturday November 13 at a time to be determined.
Juniata earned a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the 24th-consecutive season as the Eagles captured the automatic tournament bid awarded to the winner of the Commonwealth Conference championship. Juniata defeated Susquehanna 3-0 in the conference final to capture its 24th conference championship. Juniata is currently ranked number-one in the AVCA/CSTV Division III Top-25 Poll. Thirty-six teams in the 48-team field earned bids by claiming conference championships. Seven teams were selected from Pool B, which consists of independent institutions and institutions that are members of conferences that do not meet the requirements for automatic qualification. Five berths were reserved for Pool C, which are institutions from automatic-qualifying conferences that are not conference champions.
Juniata enters tournament play with a record of 32-3, and having won its last 15 matches. The Eagles have earned five wins this season over teams ranked in the national top-25 and are a perfect 20-0 against teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Juniata is led by All-American setter Carli Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton) who earlier in the week was selected as the Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year for the second time. Dale ranks among the national leaders in Division III in assists per game, and earlier this season was selected as the AVCA/Sports Imports Division III Player of the Week. While averaging 13.42 assists per game and directing Juniata to a .300 hitting percentage, Dale also leads the team in digs. Junior middle hitter Katie Laucks (West York/York) joined Dale on the All-Conference first team and is also a returning All-American. She ranks second on the Juniata team in kills, hitting percentage and blocks while leading the team in aces. Second team All-Conference picks Katie Charles (Manheim Township/Lancaster) and Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) are both big contributors for Juniata. Kines ranks among the national leaders in hitting percentage, while leading Juniata in kills and blocks. Charles ranks third on the team in kills. Senior outside hitter Erin Wisor (Altoona/Altoona) provides offense and defense for the Blue and Gold as she is fourth on the team in kills and ranks fifth in digs. Freshmen liberos Tara McMinn (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) and Kelly Popernik (Bartlett/Bartlett, Il.) are second and fourth respectively on the team in digs.
Juniata has matched up with four of the five teams in the Mid-Atlantic Regional during the regular season, and has defeated each of them. The Eagles topped second-seed Gettysburg in its season-opening tournament, and also earned a win over Frostburg State in that tourney. Juniata added victories over Salisbury and Frostburg at the Eastern Shore Invitational, and then defeated third-seed Eastern University in the "Wid" Guisler Invitational. The sixth-seed Lycoming College did not face Juniata during the regular season. Juniata boasts an all-time record of 63-31 in NCAA Tournament play.
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