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Juniata WVB takes third and fourth sets to finish off Christopher Newport, 3-1

(Posted September 3, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Second-ranked Juniata College women's volleyball scheduled a tough test for its season opener, facing 15th-ranked Christopher Newport University in the annual Asics Invitational tournament.

The good news was Juniata passed the test, downing Christopher Newport, 3-1. Set scores were 25-14, 21-25, 25-20, and 15-15.

The better news, for the coaching staff, was that while the Eagles (1-0) came away with the win, the match also provided an abject lesson for a relatively young Juniata squad that there was still plenty of work to be done.

"I think we got a good win over a very, very good team tonight, even though at times we played very young," said Juniata associate head coach Heather Pavlik. "We had strings of errors that that I think were just part of a first match of the year, and part of having some younger players on the floor."

One of those younger Juniata players, freshman pin hitter Amy Miller (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch), tallied nine kills on the night. That matched the nine terminations posted by junior outside hitter Drew Barnhart (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) and sophomore middle Kelsey Fuller (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) as team highs against the Captains.

However Miller's hitting percentage was weighed down by seven errors, and she hit .059 for the night. Similarly, freshman defensive specialist Jordan Hopper (Laguna Beach, Calif./St. Margaret's Episcopal) missed on all three of her attacks on the night, but logged a match-high two service aces.

"Recover," was Pavlik's straight-forward answer when asked what the two rookies did to impress the coaches in their debut against a top 20 opponent. "I think they both went into stretches where they really, really struggled, and I thought they brought it back. I think that's the greatest gift you can have as a young player is the ability to recover after errors, because you're going to make errors."

Among the Juniata upperclassmen, Barnhart turned in a strong performance with three blocks to go with her nine kills and .259 hitting percentage, while senior middle Kristin Noetzel (Closter, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) had eight kills with five blocks. Setter Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills) tallied 37 assists, and tacked on six kills. Libero Libby Morrison (Portland, Ore./Oregon Episcopal School), who transferred to Juniata last spring from Division I Santa Clara University, sprawled for 24 digs in her Juniata debut.

The Eagles hit just .190 versus the Captains (1-1), but held Christopher Newport to an even more pedestrian .042 attack clip. Senior middle Caitlyn Jansen, an All-America selection last season, paced all hitters with 12 kills, but hit ust .184 for the match.

CNU logged 31 attack errors and 14 service errors over the match, and had just 6.0 team blocks to Juniata 12.5 blocks.

Juniata returns to the court on Saturday morning as it faces Franklin & Marshall College at 11:00 a.m. to open day two action at the 2010 Asics Invitational. The Eagles will also wrap up the tournament on Saturday, hosting Dickinson College at 5:00 p.m.

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