(Posted October 10, 2008)

From the Univ. of La Verne Sports Information and Juniata College

LA VERNE, Calif. -- The Juniata College women's volleyball team defended its number one ranking against the nation's third-ranked team, defeating the University of La Verne 3-1 in Friday's night opener of the Leopard Invitational in La Verne, Calif.

Set scores for the Eagles were 31-33, 25-23, 25-16, and 25-23. Juniata improves to 18-1 while the Leopards fall to 13-1.

La Verne seized a hard-fought win in the first stanza as Juniata fought off three set points to force a 24-24 tie. From there, both teams battled to a standoff for the next 14 points before the Leopards came away with a 33-31 verdict.

The two teams were tied at 23 in the second set before consecutive kills by Paige Johnston (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) and Cassie Dickman (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) closed the frame to knot the contest at a set apiece. The Eagles controlled action in the third frame by hitting .343 en route to a 25-16 win.

Another see-saw affair ensued in the fourth set as the Leopards and Eagles were tied at 22 each before Juniata finished off the Leos taking three of the next four points.

"That was a very tough win under very difficult circumstances," said Juniata head coach Larry Bock.

Juniata hit .215 on the night compared to a .170 clip for La Verne. The Leos outblocked the visitors 11 to 8 while collecting 80 digs to 75 for the Eagles.

Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley) led the Eagles with a match-high 25 kills followed by Johnston with 11. Brianna Gonzales tallied 16 kills while Crista Jones added 13 for La Verne in the loss.

Beth Kozak (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) tallied 19 assists with a team-high 19 digs, while Steph Strauss (Penn Hills, Pa./Penn Hills) had 24 assists. Megan Sollenberger (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) turned up 16 digs, while Erin Albert (Philipsburg, Pa./Philipsburg-Osceola) had three points at the net on blocks.

Juniata takes on #2 Emory at 1:30 pm before concluding action against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 4 pm. La Verne opens with CMS at 11 am before closing out action against #2 Emory at 6 pm.


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