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Top-ranked Juniata WVB holds off #2 Washington-St. Louis, 3-2

(Posted September 12, 2008)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- With games against ranked rivals Washington University-St. Louis and Wisconsin-Whitewater looming, Juniata College head coach Larry Bock was concerned about his Eagle women's volleyball team would fare with the long trip and the intimidating crowd in Washington University's 2008 Teri Clemens Invitational.

Bock's Juniata squad responded by passing its first test, defeating second-ranked Washington University 3-2, in Friday night's opening round of the Teri Clemens Invitational at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.

Set scores were 26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 23-25, and 15-13.

"The kids showed great toughness," said Bock. "It was a hostile crowd, and we had to come back several times."

The Eagles (5-0) were led by senior Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley) with 14 kills and two aces, while seniors Erin Albert (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) and Cassie Dickmann (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville), and junior Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) logged nine kills apiece. Albert added five blocks and two more aces to the Juniata cause.

Senior Beth Kozak (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) set the offense with 23 assists, while Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) let the Eagles with 28 digs.

"We played a little bit flat at first, but our kids really played tough against a Washington team that has a ton of firepower," said Bock. "Our serving was over-the-top aggressive at times, but it's better to err on the side of being too aggressive."

"The bottom line is we need to get a lot better," said Bock.

The Eagles return to the court at 9:30 a.m. Central time on Saturday morning to face no. 13 Wisconsin-Whitewater. Juniata wraps up its appearance in the 2008 Teri Clemens Invitational against Bethel University (Minn.) at 2:30 p.m. Central on Saturday afternoon.

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