(Posted November 14, 2005)

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Huntingdon, PA - The Juniata College women's volleyball team will continue its quest for back-to-back NCAA Division III National Championships when the Eagles take on Colby College in an NCAA quarterfinal in Salem, Va. on Thursday Nov. 17 at 8:30 pm. The winner will move on to play in the NCAA semifinals on Friday, which is also being played in Salem. This season marks the first time that the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches are being held at the same location and over the same weekend. The Division III Championship Match will be held Saturday night at 7 pm. A live audio broadcast of each of the matches played in Salem will be available on the tournament website http://www.odaconline.com/ncaa_vball/.

Juniata (35-1) advanced to the quarterfinal match by earning 3-0 victories over Gallaudet College and Eastern University in the Mid-Atlantic Regional. Colby (37-3) was the winner of the New England Region, topping MIT and Tufts both by 3-0 scores.

Juniata is making its 25th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and is the only school to have earned a bid to each of the 25 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championships. The Eagles will also be appearing in the quarterfinal round of the tournament for the 25th time. Juniata swept past Eastern 30-25, 30-21, 30-26 in the regional on the strength of a balanced offensive attack. Rachael Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg), Katie Laucks (West York/York), Amber Thomas (Conestoga Valley/Ephrata) and Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) all reached double figures in kills in the contest, and have led Juniata's offense all season. Each member of that quartet were recently selected as American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III All-Americans, with Laucks and Kines both capturing first-team honors for the second time. Juniata freshman setter Jessica Ritchey (Greencastle-Antrim/Greencastel) passed out 48 assists in the win over Eastern, and is averaging 11.91 assists per game on the season. Tara McMinn (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) finished with 22 digs in the match, and leads the Eagles with 477 digs on the year.

Colby has reached the NCAA quarterfinals in their first trip to the NCAA Tournament after downing Tufts 30-26, 30-23, 31-29. Senior Cait Cleaver paced the Mules with 21 kills while adding 20 digs. Cleaver was picked for the AVCA Division III All-America Team this past weekend, the first All-America recognition of her career. Megan Devlin and Kaitlin Adams both added 12 digs for Colby in the match, while Jenny Lawrence finished with 47 assists. Adams was an All-Region performer for Colby this season.

Juniata and Colby met once this season, with the Eagles earning a 3-1 win at the McDaniel Invitational. Kines and Schatz both had 19 kills in the match for Juniata, while Laucks added 14 and freshman Erin Albert (Philipsburg-Osceola/Philipsburg) produced 13 kills and a team-best four blocks. The meeting this season was the first-ever meeting between Juniata and Colby in women's volleyball. Juniata will be looking to earn its 20th national semifinal berth with a win in the quarterfinals.

The winner of Juniata's quarterfinal will play the winner of the quarterfinal between New York University and Wittenberg. New York advanced through the New York region, while Wittenberg was the champion of the Great Lakes regional. Juniata is 1-0 against both New York and Wittenberg this season.


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