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NCAA Regional Will Begin Thursday At Juniata

(Posted November 7, 2005)

Click here for NCAA Regional website.

Huntingdon, PA - The NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship Mid-Atlantic Regional will be played on the Juniata College campus beginning Thursday Nov. 10 and will conclude with the regional championship match on Saturday. Juniata is hosting the event for the seventh time in the last nine years, and enters the competition as the number-one seed and as the defending NCAA Division III National Champions.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The Division III women's volleyball championship features a field of 60 teams in single-elimination format. Eight sites have been selected to host regional matches. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will then be held in Salem, Va. Nov. 17-19, with the eight regional winners advancing to the quarterfinals. The NCAA Division III Championship match will be Saturday Nov. 19 at the Salem Civic Center.

THE REGIONAL SCHEDULE: Play in the seven-team regional will get underway Thursday afternoon as fourth-seeded Gallaudet (22-11) will take on the number-five seed College of Notre Dame (28-11) at 3:30 pm. Later that evening, Gettysburg (19-12) the third seed, will battle sixth-seeded Penn State-Behrend (26-7) at 6 pm. The final match of day one pits second seed Eastern (28-5) against the University of Scranton (21-17) which holds the seven seed at 8:30 pm. The winner of the Gettysburg-Penn State-Behrend match will open play on Friday against the Easter-Scranton winner at 4:30 pm. Juniata (33-1) will then begin its tournament schedule by facing the winner of the match between Notre Dame and Gallaudet at 7 pm. The regional final is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start on Saturday.

THE EAGLES: Juniata comes into the tournament with a record of 33-1 and having won 28-consecutive matches. The Eagles have been ranked second in each of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Top-25 polls in 2005. Juniata claimed its spot in the tournament by topping Lebanon Valley 3-0 in the Commonwealth Conference championship match. It was Juniata's 25th-consecutive conference championship. The Eagles are making their 25th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and are the only team to appear in each of the Division III volleyball championships. The Blue and Gold have advanced through the NCAA Regionals in each of their 25 appearances. The Eagles are led by a pair of talented middle hitters. Junior Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) leads the team in kills (389), blocks (113), hitting percentage (.386) and points (507) while ranking second in aces (52). She was recently selected as the Commonwealth Conference Most Valuable Player. Senior middle hitter Katie Laucks (West York/York) is third on the team in kills (343), second in blocks (80) and hitting percentage (.384) and third in aces (44). She was picked as a first-team All-Conference performer. Junior outside hitter Rachel Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg) earned All-Conference honors by posting career highs with 343 kills and 78 blocks. Freshman Amber Thomas (Conestoga Valley/Ephrata) is fourth on the team with 319 kills and third with 227 digs. She claimed Commonwealth Rookie of the Year along with second-team All-Conference honors. Fellow freshman Jessica Ritchey (Greencastle-Antrim/Greencastle) leads the team with 972 assists while also providing 204 digs and 34 aces. Another freshman setter Beth Kozak (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) is averaging 11.00 assists per game on the season and has brought up 118 digs. Tara McMinn (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) earned second-team All-Conference laurels as a libero and leads the team with 444 digs. Senior defensive specialist Abby Leonard (Shade/Johnstown) leads the team with 57 serve aces, and ranks second with 237 digs. Freshman Kristi Fitzsimmons (Diamond Ranch/Pomona, Calif.) has also been effective in a defensive and serving role as she has produced 39 aces and 194 digs. Juniata is 4-0 on the season against the other teams competing in the regional. The Eagles earned a 3-0 win over Eastern in the "Wid" Guisler Invitational in Huntingdon. Juniata topped Gettysburg 3-0 at Gettysburg during the season. There were also 3-0 wins over Gallaudet and Notre Dame at the McDaniel Green Terror Invitational.

THE REST OF THE REGIONAL FIELD: Eastern is making its seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament and has reached the Mid-Atlantic Region Championship match each of the past two seasons. Gettysburg is making its 13th appearance in the Championship after claiming the Centennial Conference Championship. Gallaudet claimed the Colonial Athletic Conference title and enters the tournament having won 16 of their last 17 matches. The University of Scranton earned its fourth NCAA entry after winning the Freedom Conference Tournament. Penn State-Behrend is an NCAA Tournament rookie, having claimed the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship with a 3-0 win over Penn State-Altoona. The College of Notre Dame is making its second-consecutive trip to the NCAAs after earning the Atlantic Women's College's Conference title.

TICKET PRICES: Ticket prices for each day are $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for students with identification, and $2.00 for children under 12. All session tickets will also be available each day for $5.00. The first 300 Juniata students with ID will get in free.

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