(Posted November 6, 2004)

Juniata 3, Susquehanna 0

Huntingdon, Pa. ? As sure as the sun will rise in the East, and the leaves fall off the trees in the Fall, the Juniata College women?s volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the 24th-consecutive season on the strength of a 3-0 victory over Susquehanna in the Commonwealth Conference Championship in Huntingdon Saturday evening. The Eagles earn the automatic bid given to the winner of the conference championship, and improve to 32-3 with the victory. Susquehanna, which was appearing in its first Commonwealth Championship match drops to 21-11 with the loss.

Juniata, currently ranked first in NCAA Division III, is the only Division III program to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament each season that it has been held.

On this occasion, the Eagles earned the berth on the strength of a strong early start to the match, and then some strong play late to finish the contest. The Eagles took the match by game scores of 30-17, 30-18 and 30-25.

In game one the Eagles raced out of the box and jumped to a 17-6 lead after a pair of kills from Rachael Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg). Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) then pounded out three kills down the stretch to seal the win.

Game two also saw Juniata jump in front quickly. The Eagles owned a 19-11 edge after a kill from Katie Charles (Manheim Township/Lancaster). Katie Laucks (West York/York) provided two late kills to finish the 30-18 win.

Susquehanna battled throughout game three, and nearly extended the match to a fourth game. A kill from Cheryl Smith put the Crusaders in front 18-17. Marissa Gaulton then notched a pair of kills to keep the visitors in front with a 21-20 advantage. But the game killed with Allie Phillips (Carlisle/Gardners) notching a solo block to put Juniata in front 23-22. A kill from Kines brought the lead to 25-23 and a pair of late aces from Carli Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton) propelled Juniata to the win.

Kines pounded out a career-high 25 kills in leading the Eagles to the victory. Schatz and Charles were both also in double figures with 10 kills apiece. Dale passed out 50 assists in the match and led all players with 15 digs and four aces.

Kerri Eshelman paced Susquehanna with eight kills in the match. Sophie Hall directed the Crusader offense with 22 assists, while Sara Weaver brought up a team-high 2 digs. Missy Kadingo added to the defense with four blocks.

Juniata will await the announcement of the NCAA Division III Tournament brackets, which should come late Sunday night or early Monday morning.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.