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Juniata Volleyball Tops Coast Guard

(Posted November 16, 2006)

SALEM, Va. - After sweeping through the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional at home last weekend, the Eagles made Salem, Va. look a lot like home as the Eagles earned a 3-0 victory over the United States Coast Guard Academy in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The top-ranked Eagles improved to 39-1 with the win, and have now earned a spot in the NCAA semifinals for the 21st time. The Coast Guard Academy, which was making its first-ever appearance in the quarterfinals, ends the season with a record of 28-3. Juniata\'s strong passing and serving game was critical for the team as the Blue and Gold tossed in eight aces and limited the Bears to a .014 team hitting percentage to earn the 30-16, 30-14, 30-23 win. Meanwhile, Juniata hit .260 as a team, and setter Beth Kozak (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) passed out 35 assists to lead Juniata\'s offense. \"Our passing and serving were the key in the match,\" Juniata Head Coach Larry Bock said. \"We felt coming in that if we won the passing and serving battle, we would probably have the advantage, and that\'s what happened. When we\'re strong on first and second contact, it puts us in good position to win. Juniata\'s Amber Thomas (Conestoga Valley/Ephrata) was the leading attacker for Juniata as she finished with 10 kills. Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) added nine finishes in two games and hit .615 in the match. Juniata wasted little time moving in front in game one, as the Eagles scored seven of the first nine points of the game. From there the attacking of Thomas, who provided six kills in the game, and Kines who had five finishes propelled Juniata to the 30-16 win. In game two Kines scored three-consecutive points on a pair of kills and a double block with Aly Pompeani (Hopewell/Aliquippa) to get Eagles started. Coast Guard would get consecutive kills from Corine McCormack and Kimberly Jung to cut into the lead, but the Eagles answered with a double block from Erin Albert (Philipsburg-Osceola/Philipsburg) and Paige Johnston (Hempfield/Lancaster) and a kill from Pompeani to halt the run. Kills from Johnston and Albert then helped Juniata close the game on a four-point run to earn the 30-14 victory. Game three was the tightest of the match as the Coast Guard hung with Juniata through most of the game. Early offensive from the Bear\'s Jeannie Crump and Nicole Gurr had Coast Guard holding an early 8-7 lead. Juniata moved back in front on a kill from Johnston and then consecutive aces from Kozak sparked a 6-0 Juniata run that put the Eagles in front 18-10. Coast Guard inched back with four late kills from Gurr but finishes from Juniata\'s Cassie Dickmann (Unionville/Kennett Square) and Mariel Little (Walled Lake Central/Commerce, Mich.) sealed the 30-23 win. Juniata was led defensively by Megan Sollenberger (Cumberland Valley/Mechanicsburg) who brought up 19 digs. Thomas added 16 to go with her 10 kills. She also had a team-high three blocks. Gurr led all players with 13 kills for the Bears while also contributing eight digs. Christine Rostowfske passed out 23 digs for Coast Guard and led the team with 11 digs. Juniata moves on to play Wittenberg in the NCAA semifinals. The Eagles defeated the Tigers 3-0 in Huntingdon on the opening night of the 2006 season. The two teams also met last season in the semifinal round, with Juniata claiming the win in an epic five-game match. The match will take place at 7 p.m. in Salem. ###

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