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Juniata places five on AVCA All-Region team; Fuller named Region Freshman of the Year

(Posted November 12, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Five Juniata College women's volleyball players were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Mid-Atlantic Region teams, which were announced Thursday.

Senior libero Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley), junior setter Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills), and sophomore outside hitter Drew Barnhart (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) were all named to the All-Region squad.

Senior opposite Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) and freshman middle hitter Kelsey Fuller (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) were Honorable Mention selections to the squad; Fuller also received the nod as the Region's Freshman of the Year.

Barnhart was Juniata's top offensive producer this season, amassing 329 kills and averaging 3.36 per set. She led the Eagles with 38 service aces (0.39/set), and had a hand in 34 blocks (0.35/set). She earned First team All-Landmark honors, and was a three-time Landmark Player of the Week honoree.

Sollenberger, a three-time All-American, was both the Landmark's Player of the Year and Specialist of the Year - the third consecutive year she has received the league's Specialist of the Year award. She tallied 601 digs this season, averaging 5.27 digs per set, and recorded 34 service aces (0.30/set).

Strauss, who earned All-America honors as a sophomore, was a First team All-Landmark selection this season. She averaged 10.08 assists per set (978 total), and tacked on 1.28 kills/set offensively for the Eagles. Strauss also recorded 44 total blocks (0.45/set), and last week was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District squad as a second team honoree.

This is Johnston's first appearance on the AVCA's post-season honors list, earning First team All-Landmark recognition earlier this week. She was third on the team in kills with 2.57 kills/set, and hit .295 for the season. She also recorded 26 aces (0.28/set) with 144 total digs (1.55/set). Paige was also second on the team in blocks with 44 (0.47/set). Johnston was a two-time Landmark Player of the Week selection, and was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division III National Player of the Week on October 27, for her performance in Juniata's 3-1 win over Division II California University of Pennsylvania, and three wins in the Eagles' Wid Guisler Invitational.

Fuller, the Landmark's Rookie of the Year, was second on the team in both kills, with 260 (2.65/set), and total digs, with 228 (2.33/set). Fuller also tallied 14 aces and 28 total blocks in her freshman campaign.

Juniata is making its 29th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, after capturing the Landmark Conference championship with a 3-0 win over Susquehanna University to claim the league's automatic berth. The Eagles are 31-3 overall, and will face Cabrini College (24-6) on Thursday night in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship's Juniata Regional.

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