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Volleyball Downs Eastern In NCAA Play

(Posted November 13, 2004)

Stephanie Kines pounded out 12 kills and added four blocks to lead Juniata to a 3-0 win over Eastern in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championship.

Click here for information on Juniata's NCAA quarterfinal match.

Gettysburg, PA - For the 24th time in 24 tries the Juniata College women's volleyball team has reached the NCAA Quarterfinal round, this time on the strength of a 3-0 win over Eastern University in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship in Gettysburg Saturday night. The top-ranked Eagles improved to 34-3 with the victory and will play Emory University (Ga.)the winner of the South Regional next Saturday at a site to be determined. Eastern ends its season with a record of 30-7 after falling to Juniata in the regional final for the second-consecutive season.

Juniata took the match by game scores of 30-18, 30-21 and 30-22. The Eagles continue to attack in an efficient fashion as Juniata hit .348 as a team in the match with just 11 attack errors. Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) paced Juniata with a match-high 12 kills and a .579 attack percentage. She also keyed the Eagle defense with four blocks. Rachael Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg) was in double figures with 10 kills, while also posting four blocks.

"We probably weren't as sharp defensively tonight as we were last night," Juniata Head Coach Larry Bock explained. "But we had some good blocking flurries that seemed to really upset Eastern's offensive rhythm. We served well, and we blocked much better. That was a good team, and we managed to keep everything pretty comfortable for us."

It was Schatz who got the Eagles rolling in game one. With Juniata leading 16-11 Schatz joined Kines for a block, then the pair went back-and-forth with two kills apiece to put Juniata in front comfortably 22-11. Back-to-back kills from Schatz and Katie Charles (Manheim Township/Lancaster) finished game one.

Juniata jumped ahead early in game two and never looked back. Strong early serving from Erin Wisor (Altoona/Altoona) and Katie Laucks (West York/York) paced Juniata to an 8-1 advantage in the second game. Eastern cut the lead to six on a serve ace from Erin Meredith, but Juniata answered with a kill from Charles and another double block from Kines and Schatz to make the score 20-11 en route to the 30-21 win.

Game three was tight with Juniata holding a slim 7-5 edge early, before posting a 5-2 run to extend the lead. Kines added her final two blocks during the run, teaming with setter Carli Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton). Eastern would hang tough cutting the lead to two at 16-14. Juniata answered with Dale setting Kines for a kill and side-out. Tara McMinn (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) then served six-straight points to push the lead to 23-14 as Juniata pulled away for the 30-22 win. McMinn paced Juniata's defense with 11 digs, giving her double digit dig totals in both regional matches.

Wisor added 10 kills to join Kines and Schatz in double figures, with Dale passing out 42 assists.

"We showed some good balance tonight, and made use of a lot of different weapons," Bock said. "It definitely feels like we're on an upswing right now, and are starting to do some things well that we haven't done all year. We feel much better coming out of the regional than we have the past few years."

Juniata was 38-0 entering the quarterfinal round last year, but suffered an upset loss to New York University to keep the team from making its eighth-consecutive National Semifinal appearance.

Emma Klein finished with 12 kills to lead Eastern, with Jacey Bray and Chelsea Lyon adding eight finishes apiece. Bray added a team-high two blocks with Patsy Rivera led all players with 16 digs. Erin Meredith finished with 35 assists for Eastern.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.