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Women's volleyball downs Geneva and York at Wid Guisler Tournament

(Posted October 24, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College women's volleyball team completed play in its own 2009 Wid Guisler Invitational on Saturday at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center, with a pair of victories.

Juniata opened the day with a 3-1 win over Geneva College, downing the Golden Tornadoes by set scores of 25-10, 25-17, 23-25, and 25-18.

Sophomore middle Amanda Schmidt (Boswell, Pa./North Star) hit .538 for the match, logging 14 kills on 26 swings with no errors. Senior opposite Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) put down 11 kills on 28 swings, with outside hitter Drew Barnhart (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) registering nine terminations on 22 swings.

Junior setter Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills) set 30 assists while running a Juniata offense that hit at .265 for the match. Senior libero Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) had 23 digs for the Eagles.

In the first set, Juniata jumped out to a quick 12-3 lead, and cruised the rest of the way to the victory. Kristin Noetzel had four kills during the run. The Eagles finally finished off the set with a Drew Barnhart kill, one of her four in the set.

Set two was a neck-and-neck contest all the way through 7-7, when Juniata broke the deadlock on consecutive Geneva attack errors followed by four straight Juniata kills, and six Eagle kills in a nine-point run. Amanda Schmidt tallied three kills during that stretch, which gave Juniata a commanding lead that it held the rest of the way.

Geneva (16-9) turned the tables on Juniata in set three, eking out a narrow lead and fighting off several Eagle counterattacks. The Golden Tornadoes' lead reached its widest at 14-7, at the end of a seven-point Geneva run. Rachel Kuegler notched a pair of aces for Geneva, while Maggie Bowersox had a pair of kills.

Juniata began to chip away at the Geneva lead, eventually catching the Golden Tornadoes at 20-20 on a Bowersox attack error. An Alexa Ebert (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) kill on the next point briefly gave the Eagles the led, but back-to-back kills by Laura Zerbe and Bowersox returned the advantage to Geneva. Four straight side out points advanced the score to 24-23, and a Brandi Snavely service ace allowed the Golden Tornadoes to post the win.

The fourth set saw Juniata take a narrow lead in the early going, with Geneva countering to catch the Eagles on the scoreboard at 13-13. A Barnhart kill gave Juniata a 14-13 advantage, and ignited a five-point run to give the Eagles a lead they wouldn't relinquish. A kill by Strauss put the Eagles on match point, and a Barnhart kill finished off the Golden Tornadoes.

Kuegler and Adriane Blake each had eight kills for Geneva, while Zerbe and Bowersox logged six terminations. Three Golden Tornadoes recorded double-digit block totals, led by Brianna Mixter with 22. Michelle Zimmovan recorded three total blocks in Geneva's team total of 5.0.

Juniata (27-2) closed on the books on the 2009 Wid Guisler with a 3-0 win over York College of Pennsylvania, 25-13, 25-14, and 25-17.

Johnston, Schmidt and Barnhart all tallied eight kills to lead the Eagles to the victory, as Juniata hit .324 for the match. Strauss logged 23 assists while guiding the Juniata offense, and Megan Sollenberger turned up 17 digs to go with a pair of aces.

The Eagles opened up a slim lead early in the first set, and slowly pulled away from the Spartans. A five-point run to make the score 8-3 in Juniata's favor gave an initial push, with Johnston contributing a pair of kills. Later in the set, a six-point Eagle run off the serve of Michelle Morchesky (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield Area) gave Juniata a 20-10 advantage.

The second set was dominated by the Eagles, who opened with an 8-0 lead before York ever got on the scoreboard. Barnhart had three kills during Juniata's initial surge, while a Johnston kill closed out the set.

Juniata also opened up a 4-0 lead to start the third set, and against coasted to the win.

Alishia Waltermyer logged five kills for the Spartans, while Heather Bucher and Alysse Beshore added four each. Waltermyer also had a team-high 14 assists, and Ashley Rineman had 18 digs.

Juniata returns to competition on Friday, Oct. 30, when it opens play in the Trinity University tournament in San Antonio, Texas.

For a video recap of this match, click here.

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