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Juniata Volleyball Outlasts Wittenberg

(Posted September 2, 2005)

Amber Thomas posted a team-high 18 kills to help Juniata to a 3-2 victory over Wittenberg in the season opener.

Juniata 3, Wittenberg 2

Springfield, Ohio. ? For nearly two full games it looked the Juniata College women?s volleyball team?s 2005 season was going to begin on a losing note. That is until a 10-0 run late in the second game sparked second-ranked Juniata to a 3-2 comeback victory over fourth-ranked Wittenberg Friday evening. The Eagles improved to 1-0 as they claimed the match by game scores of 20-30, 33-31, 22-30, 30-24, 15-13.

Juniata?s young roster got an early test in a hostile environment as the Eagles started four freshman in the match. After dropping game one by 10 points, Juniata trailed in game two by a 23-14 score. The Eagles responded as a strong serving run from Abby Leonard (Shade/Johnstown) which included three aced, led to 10-straight points to move in front 24-23. The Eagles carried that momentum to the 33-31 win.

Wittenberg bounced back and controlled game three throughout. The Eagles then made a switch to freshman setter Beth Kozak (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) late in game three and seemed to settle down the team?s offense. That carried into games four and five as Juniata regained momentum and earned the victory.

Freshman Amber Thomas (Conestoga Valley/Ephrata) paced Juniata with 18 kills in her first career match. Kozak and fellow freshman Jess Ritchey (Greencastle-Antrim/Greencastle) each passed out 31 assists for the Blue and Gold. Tara McMinn (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) paced the defense with 24 digs. Leonard finished with four aces.

Juniata returns to action on Saturday when the Eagles take on Otterbein as part of the Wittenberg Season Opening Tri-Match.

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