(Posted September 15, 2006)

Juniata 3, Washington (Mo.) 1 HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? For the second time this season a team ranked second in Division III came into Huntingdon looking to knock off the top-ranked Juniata College women?s volleyball team, and once again the Eagles managed to strengthen their hold on the top spot this time with a 3-1 victory over visiting Washington University (Mo.) on the opening day of competition at the 2006 ?Wid? Guisler Invitational. Juniata improved to 10-0 with the win, and dropped the visiting Bears to 8-1 on the season. After seemingly having the match under control with wins in the first two games, Juniata had to survive a game-three win from Washington and then needed a late rally to take game four. The Eagles hung on in game four, to claim the 30-19, 30-28, 27-30, 30-28 win. Trailing 24-21 in game four, the Eagles got a pair of kills from Erin Albert (Philipsburg-Osceola/Philipsburg) and a block from Albert and Amber Thomas (Conestoga Valley/Ephrata) to pull within a point. Washington answered with a solo block from Whitney Smith extending the lead to two. The teams traded points as Washington took a 28-27 edge on a Nikki Morrison kill. From there the Eagles went to Rachael Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg) and the senior delivered with three-consecutive kills to close the match. Schatz finished with a team-high 20 kills for the Blue and Gold while also contributing three blocks. After getting off to a slow start in game one, the Eagles seemed to find their rhythm late. The Bears led by as many as six points in the early going before a 6-0 Juniata run, sparked by three kills from Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) gave Juniata a one-point lead. It remained tight until late in the game when Beth Kozak (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) served Juniata to a 9-0 run that helped put the game away. The Eagles were forced to come from behind in game two as well, as the Bears held a 24-22 lead after a Haleigh Spencer kill. After the score moved to 25-2, the Eagles ripped off five-straight points, with Albert teaming up with Schatz and Brittany Carr (Titusville/Titusville) for a pair of double blocks. Two late kills from Thomas and another from Carr helped the Eagles hold on for the 30-28 win. It looked like the Eagles would earn the comfortable 3-0 victory as they jumped in front early in game four. The Blue and Gold led by as many as seven points after a Carr kill and an attack error from the Bears. But Washington responded sparked by the offense of Morrison they put together a 7-0 run that put the visitors in front 27-25. A Smith kill sealed the game and sent it to the decisive game four. Juniata had three other players join Schatz in double figures in kills with Thomas adding 15, Kines knocking out 12 and Carr finishing with 10. Juniata hit .289 in the match with Kozak passing out 34 assists to lead the offense. Jessica Ritchey (Greencastle-Antrim/Greencastle) added 21 assists for Juniata in the match. Megan Sollenberger (Cumberland Valley/Mechanicsburg) led the team with 15 digs, while Kozak and Thomas added 12 and 11 respectively. Albert led the team with four blocks in the match. Morrison led all players with 21 kills in the contests, with Haleigh Spencer contributing 12. Audra Janek ran the offense with 48 assists and tossed in a match-high three serve aces. Amy Bommarito led all players with 18 digs in the contest, while Emile Walk and Smith each had four blocks. Juniata will wrap up competition at the Guisler Invitational on Saturday when the Eagles take on 20th-ranked Trinity University (Texas) and Seton Hill University. ###

Our readers respond...

Be the first to provide a response.

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