(Posted September 18, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College women's volleyball squad completed a two-for-two day on the court with a 3-0 win over Division II Clarion University, Thursday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntington, Pa.
Set scores in the win were 25-21, 25-14, and 25-11.

The victory came on the heels of a three-set win over Franklin & Marshall during the afternoon, in a game rescheduled from late August due to academic scheduling conflicts. Set scores in the Eagles' win over the Diplomats were 25-18, 25-16, and 25-14.

Juniata's win over Clarion looked like it might be a hard-fought affair, after the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, eventually stretching the lead to six points at 14-8.

The Eagles (9-0, 0-0 Landmark) finally began to claw their way back into the affair with a pair of back-to-back kills by Erin Albert (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) and a service ace by Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley), cutting the lead to 16-14. Juniata eventually pulled ahead at 21-20 with a block by Cassie Dickmann (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) and Thomas. After a service error knotted the game at 21-21, Juniata scored four straight points on kills to post the first set win, with Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) crushing the ball onto Clarion's floor on set point.

"I thought the servers did a pretty good job of settling down and I thought we started passing the ball to the tape - I think that made a big difference," said Juniata associate head coach Heather Pavlik. "We started running an offense once we got the ball to the tape, and earlier in that match we didn't pass the ball well at all. As soon as we started passing, things really started clicking for us."

A 6-1 run for Juniata midway through the set helped propel the Eagles to a second set victory. Of Clarion's 14 points in the second set, eight came off Juniata errors while only six were generated by Clarion's offense. The Eagles again recorded four straight kills at the end of the set to complete the win, including a pair by Johnston.

Five straight points early in the third set turned stretched a 4-3 Juniata lead into a commanding 9-3 advantage, completing the Eagle win. Thomas tallied three straight kills during the stretch, half of the six kills she logged in the set and 13 for the entire game.

Albert and Johnston's block on game point sealed the win.

Juniata recorded eight team blocks in the match, including four by Dickmann and three each by Albert and Johnston.

"We wanted to continue playing Clarion like we did Franklin & Marshall, and that's not going to work because Clarion is a much better team and they served us tough right off the bat," said Juniata head coach Larry Bock. "Somehow we turned it around with good first contacts in the middle of that first set, and that continued. As long as we were passing and digging the ball, we were able to run that quick counterattack and that proved to be the answer; Clarion is a good team, but they struggled at defending the quick attack in transition."

In the opening game, Juniata hit .247 for the game to control the tempo against Franklin & Marshall.

Kristin Noetzel (Closter, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) led Juniata with six kills, while Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills), Drew Barnhart (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) and Amanda Schmidt (Boswell, Pa./North Star) had five kills each. Strauss set the offense with eight assists, while Schmidt added three total blocks.

Juniata returns to action this Saturday, Sept. 20, when it faces Goucher College and Susquehanna University in first day action at the Landmark Conference round-robin matches in Selinsgrove, Pa.


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