(Posted November 8, 2007)

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Juniata College women's volleyball team's pursuit of a second straight national championship began with a 3-0 victory over an outgunned and overmatched Philadelphia Biblical University squad, Thursday afternoon in Haverford, Pa. Game scores in the first round match at the Haverford College regional were 30-13, 30-19, and 30-23. The Eagles (34-4) advance to the regional semifinal match on Friday at 4:30 p.m., where they will play the winner of the Salisbury (Md.)-Christopher Newport (Va.) first round match. Game one was controlled by Juniata from the outset. After a side-out kill by Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley) to open the match, the Eagles tallied the next 12 points off serves by Beth Kozak (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) to build a 13-0 lead. Thomas and Erin Albert (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) each had a pair of kills during the run. PBU eventually clawed their way back into the match, before a Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) kill sealed the win. Game two was slightly closer, with the Crimson Eagles getting as close as 17-13 at one point following PBU kills by Caitlin Hess and Becky Williams, and three straight attack errors by Juniata. The Blue and Gold took charge of the game at that point, again led by Kozak's serving, and ran the score to 24-14. Molly Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) wrapped up the game on a service ace, one of her two in the game. Juniata trailed by as many as seven points, 12-5, early in game three, before finally pulling even with the Crimson Eagles at 17-17 on a service ace by Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills), and taking the lead on a Kristin Noetzel (Closter, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) kill. Control of the game see-sawed back-and-forth to 19-19, when Juniata began to build a lead that was aided by five PBU attack errors. It was a Crimson Eagle attack error that gave Juniata the victory, after reaching match point on a kill by Michelle Morchesky (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield). Thomas finished the afternoon with a team-high seven kills, followed by Morchesky with six. Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) logged a game-high 15 digs, and was one of three Eagles with double-digit dig totals along with Molly Sollenberger (12) and Jessica Ritchey (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) with 10. Kozak tallied 22 set assists while Strauss had 13, and Juniata logged nine team blocks with four by Noetzel. -30-

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