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Juniata Volleyball Downs Eastern In Regional Semifinal

(Posted November 11, 2005)

Huntingdon, PA ? The Juniata College women?s volleyball team shook off a resilient Gallaudet University team to earn its first NCAA Tournament victory of 2005, topping Gallaudet 3-0 in an NCAA Division III Volleyball Mid-Atlantic Regional Semifinal. Juniata improves to 33-5 with the win and will take on Eastern University in the NCAA Regional Championship match Saturday night.

Gallaudet, which earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament win with a 3-0 victory over the College of Notre Dame on Thursday, finishes the season with a 23-12 record.

The home team quickly took control of game one, surging out to a 10-3 lead following an Amber Thomas kill. The Eagles would push the lead to as many as 11 at 25-14 following a Thomas ace and eased its way to a 30-21 win.

Game two was a different story as Gallaudet looked intent on claiming the upset. The Bison led throughout the entire game and held a late 26-23 edge after a kill from Charity Sanders. Juniata clawed back to tie the score on back-to-back kills from Katie Laucks then took the lead after a Thomas ace and two more kills from Laucks. Stacy Segeberg halted Juniata?s run with a kill to make it 29-27 Eagles, but a Gallaudet service error gave the game to Juniata.

Juniata was back in front early in game three, claiming a 9-4 lead after another Laucks finish. Gallaudet answered back again, pulling to within two at 12-10 following a service ace from Kristina Burke. Juniata would maintain its lead until late in the game when a solo block from Valeri Trofimenkoff cut the Juniata lead to 23-22. After the teams exchanged side outs, the Eagles scored the final seven points with a kill from Thomas sealing the victory.

Laucks led all players with 15 kills in the match and hit at a solid .481 clip. Thomas added 14 finishes for the Blue and Gold. Jessica Ritchey dished out 40 assists for Juniata and paced the team with three aces and 12 digs. Thomas also had three aces while Tara McMinn and Kristi Fitzsimmons added 11 and 10 digs respectively.

Segeberg was the top attacker for Gallaudet with eight kills. Sander added six finishes for the visitors. Pia Marie Paulone passed out 22 assists on the match while also producing 10 digs. Segeberg and Shana Lehman had a team-high 11 digs apiece for the Bison with Trofimenkoff notching a match-best five blocks.

Juniata and Eastern will be meeting in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship for the third-consecutive season. Juniata has claimed each of the previous regional championship matches.

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