(Posted November 1, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College volleyball team earned itself the right to play for its 26th-consecutive conference championship by virtue of a 3-0 victory over Lebanon Valley College in a Commonwealth semifinal match Wednesday in Huntingdon. The top-seeded Eagles are now 34-1 on the season and will take on the winner of the other semifinal between Elizabethtown and Moravian. Lebanon Valley fell to 21-10 with the setback. Juniata rode a dominating defensive and service effort to the 30-18, 30-20, 30-22 victory that earned them the berth in the conference championship match. The Eagles tossed in 14 serve aces in the contests, and finished with 36 digs and 11 blocks to help limit Lebanon Valley to a -0.24 hitting percentage in the match. Jessica Ritchey (Greencastle-Antrim/Greencastle) led the Eagles with five serve aces, two of which came early in game one as the Eagles raced out to a big lead and never looked back. In game two, a pair of early double blocks from Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) and Michelle Morchesky (Hempfield/Greensburg) helped Juniata pull out to an early lead. Back-to-back aces from Mariel Little (Walled Lake Central/Commerce, Mich.) extended the lead midway through the game as the Eagles claimed the 30-20 win. Game three was tighter as the Flying Dutchmen held an early lead and stayed within striking distance throughout the game. But the Eagles took control late in the game with Ritchey tossing in two more aces to help the Eagles pull away for the victory. Kines paced the Juniata offense in the match as she produced nine kills with a .429 hitting percentage. Morchesky and Ritchey each added seven kills for Juniata. Ritchey also finished with 34 assists, six digs and a pair of blocks to go with her team-leading five aces. Megan Sollenberger (Cumberland Valley/Mechanicsburg) led Juniata with nine digs, while Kines led all players with five blocks. Margaret Prebula led the Lebanon Valley attack with seven kills while Natalie Goodfellow added six finishes. Brandi Roth finished with 11 digs while Goodfellow produced 10 digs. Erin Yost passed out 18 assists for the Flying Dutchmen offense. The conference championship match will be played Saturday in Huntingdon at 7 p.m. ###

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