(Posted December 10, 2001)

Huntingdon, Pa. - Sophomore Ben Gallagher (Butler/Butler), a forward on the men's basketball team, and junior middle hitter Niki Mueller (Bishop Guilfoyle/Altoona), a student-athlete on the women's volleyball squad, were named the Juniata College "Athletes of the Month" for November.

Gallagher helped Juniata get off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1924-25 in November. Included in the 5-0 beginning were championships in the Adelphia/Doc Greene and the Carnegie Mellon tournaments. He opened the year by dropping in a career-best 30 points during an 87-74 decision over Villa Julie on the 17th. Gallagher also had four rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Mustangs. The next day, he had 16 points, four rebounds and three steals in a 74-58 victory over Methodist (NC). He was named the most valuable player of the Adelphia/Doc Greene Tournament for the second straight year after his two-game showing. He finished the month with a personal-high 11 rebounds during Juniata's convincing 88-42 win against Penn State-Altoona on the 28th. Gallagher also had 10 points and two assists versus the Cougars.

For the month, he averaged 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds a game and shot 56 percent (25 of 45) from the floor and 84 percent from the foul line (21 of 25). Gallagher also posted just under two assists and two steals per game during the five-contest span. For the year, he is currently posting 16 points and 6.1 rebounds an outing.

Juniata is currently 6-2 overall and 1-1 in the Commonwealth Conference. The Eagles will play host to York (Pa.) Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. to wrap up first-semester action in the 2001-02 season.

Mueller led the Eagles through the post-season by averaging 4.13 kills and 0.65 blocks per game, while hitting an impressive .395 on 95 kills, 25 errors and 177 total attempts. In addition, she posted 0.39 digs a contest as well. All of the statistical marks include a Dec. 1 victory over Wellesley in the NCAA Division III third-place match.

During a 3-1 win over Moravian in the Commonwealth championship on the 3rd, she had 12 kills, a .333 hitting percentage, three digs and four blocks. Mueller posted 17 kills, an amazing .500 attack mark and two rejections in a 3-0 victory against Catholic in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region final on the 10th. The very next Saturday, she guided the Eagles to a 3-1 upset win at Trinity (TX) in the NCAA Quarterfinal round with 21 kills and a .417 hitting percentage. In the NCAA semifinals against eventual Division III champion LaVerne on the 30th at Wis.-Whitewater, Mueller registered 17 kills, a .333 hitting percentage and two blocks in a 3-2 loss. In the consolation match versus Wellesley, a 3-1 Juniata victory, she completed the year with 21 kills, a .562 hitting mark, three digs and three blocks. She was named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA Division III final four-team grouping.

Juniata ended the year with a 30-9 overall record and a 7-0 mark in the Commonwealth. The Eagles placed third in the nation for the sixth time in school history and posted their 22nd straight 30-or-more win season.

The Juniata College "Athlete of the Month" award is sponsored by McDonald's of Huntingdon and Mount Union. Barb and John Eastman, who own and operate the local McDonald's restaurants, provide the winners with plaques.

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