(Posted October 19, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Second-ranked Juniata College trailed at various times in all three games, but rallied when it needed to on its way to a thrilling three-game victory over #7 University of La Verne (Calif.), to close out Friday\'s first day of action at Juniata\'s Wid Guisler Invitational women\'s volleyball tournament in Huntingdon, Pa. Game scores were 30-28, 30-27, and 32-30. \"It was very different to play a high quality opponent at home,\" said Juniata head coach Larry Bock. \"I think we\'ve gotten to be a good road team, and today was a good first step toward being a good home team.\" The Eagles clinched the match on a block by Beth Kozak (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) and Erin Albert (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola), following Brittany Carr\'s (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) service with the score 31-30. Juniata had trailed La Verne 23-22 earlier in game three, before an Albert kill knotted the game at 23-23. The Eagles took the lead for good on the ensuing service by Molly Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley), which resulted in kills by Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley) and Albert. In game two, La Verne had a 26-25 lead over Juniata in the late stages of the game. However four kills by Carr and a service ace by Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) vaulted Juniata into a 29-27 lead, and Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) sealed the win with one of her 11 kills on the night. \"Brittany (Carr) and Paige (Johnston) were heroic tonight. When we needed a kill desperately, we were getting them from the outside - and that\'s Paige and Brittany,\" said Bock. The tone for the night was set right from the start of game one, with neither squad able to sustain a lead larger than a couple of points. Juniata managed to extend its lead to 26-22 late in the game, but the Leopards battled back to eventually pull even with the Eagles, 28-28. With Megan Sollenberger serving, Thomas and Megan Lamens (Schellsburg, Pa./Berlin Brothersvalley) posted kills on the final two points to seal the Juniata win. Thomas finished the night with a team-high 18 kills and 12 digs, with Lamens matching Johnston\'s total with 11 terminations. Kozak tallied 53 assists, and Jessica Ritchey (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) had a team-high 15 digs. \"La Verne is just continuing to get better and better,\" said Bock. \"That\'s a team I don\'t really want to see at the end of the season, but I know they\'re going to be there. We need to be prepared to see them deep into the post-season. \"They have a lot of firepower. We were extremely fortunate to win that match,\" said Bock. In other first day scores at the 2007 Wid Guisler Invitational: #7 La Verne def. Eastern, 3-1 (30-9, 30-15, 33-35, 30-21) #11 Cal State-East Bay def. Carnegie Mellon, 3-1 (24-30, 30-18, 30-28, 31-29) #11 Cal State-East Bay def. Eastern, 3-1 (29-31, 30-20, 30-22, 30-17) Competition resumes on Saturday, Oct. 20, starting at 11:00 a.m. Juniata will play Eastern University in the day\'s first game, and will face #11 Cal State-East Bay at 3:00 p.m. In other matches, Carnegie Mellon will face La Verne at 11:00 a.m.; La Verne will battle Cal State-Bay and Carnegie Mellon will clash with Eastern at 1:00 p.m. -30-

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