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Eagles power their way past Eastern, improve record to 2-0

(Posted September 4, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - In a battle between two top 25 teams, second-ranked Juniata College improved its record to 2-0 with a 3-0 victory over number 23 Eastern University during Friday's nightcap of the 2009 Asics Invitational at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center. The straight set victory scores were 25-19, 25-13, and 25-22.

Leading the way for Larry Bock's squad was sophomore outside hitter Drew Barnhart (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) who recorded 11 kills on 23 attempts as well as four service aces. First year student Kelsey Fuller (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) contributed nine kills and nine digs, barely missing her first collegiate double-double in her second career match.

Defensively for the Eagles, Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) had 21 of the team's 48 digs as the libero. Junior Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills) had a solid match as well, leading the Eagles in assists with 34 and adding six kills and four digs as the setter.

The first set was an even match until Juniata (2-0) went on a seven-point run to go from trailing 10-12 to leading 17-12. During the run, Fuller recorded one ace while Strauss had five of her assists. Another three-point swing put Juniata up 23-17, and they eventually put the first set away by a score of 25-19.

The second set proved why the Eagles are ranked second, as the team combined to hit at a 56 percent clip. They jumped out fast, taking ten of the first twelve points, with three kills off the arm of Amanda Schmidt (Boswell, Pa./North Star). The Eagles kept Eastern at an arm's reach the entire set until a three-point rally ended the set 25-13.

Eastern (2-1) tried to mount a comeback and kept even with Juniata for most of the third set. The Juniata Eagles kept the Eastern Eagles to a .174 attack percentage for the entire match, but only .135 in the third set. The third set went back and forth until Juniata pulled away from a 22-22 tie with three straight points. Barnhart ended the match with two service aces.

The Asics Invitational will continue on Saturday, September 5 at 11 a.m. with Juniata taking on Hiram College on the main court. The Eagles will follow up later in the day and finish off the tournament with a match against Ithaca College at 3 p.m.

For a video recap of this game, click here.

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