(Posted November 12, 2002)

Huntingdon, PA - The NCAA Volleyball Tournament is returning to College Hill. Juniata College will host the NCAA Volleyball Mid-Atlantic Regional the weekend of November 16th. Juniata has hosted this event five out of the last six years, with the lone exception being last season when the regional was held at Gettysburg. Juniata will enter the weekend as the number-one seed, and are back in the national playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The Division III women's volleyball championship features a field of 48 teams in single-elimination format. Eight sites have been selected to host regional matches. Regional winners will advance to one of four quarterfinal sites the Saturday following regional competition. The Mid-Atlantic region is paired with the New England this season for quarterfinal action.

THE REGIONAL SCHEDULE: Play in the Mid-Atlantic regional will get under way Thursday afternoon as fourth-seeded Frostburg State (25-9) will take on the number-five seed Gettysburg (23-13) at 4:30 p.m. Later that evening, Eastern (31-5) the third seed, will battle sixth-seeded Rowan (27-8) at 7:00 p.m. King's (38-1), the regional second seed, will take on the winner of the Eastern-Rowan match at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and then at 7 p.m. Juniata (30-4) will face-off with the Frostburg State-Gettysburg survivor. The regional final is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday.

THE EAGLES: Juniata enters the tournament with a record of 30-4 and ranked fifth in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III poll. The Blue and Gold earned their spot in the tournament on the strength of their 22nd consecutive conference championship, which the Eagles claimed with a 3-0 victory over Moravian in the Commonwealth Conference championship match. Juniata met two of the regional qualifiers during the regular season, topping both Gettysburg and Frostburg State in three games. Niki Mueller (Bishop Guilfoyle/Altoona) has led the Eagles all season. The senior captain leads the team in kills, hitting percentage and blocking. She has a Commonwealth Conference volleyball "player of the week" honor to her credit this season.

Setter Carli Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton) has passed out 13.18 assists per game, while contributing .37 serve aces and nearly three digs per contest. Junior Libero Johanna Holtan (Fargo North/Fargo, N.D.) is bringing up more than five digs per game. Her dig total of 585 is the third-highest single season total in school history. Sophomore Katie Charles (Manheim Township/Lancaster) is averaging 2.73 kills per game with an impressive .300 hitting percentage. Katie Laucks (West York/York) has made an impact as a freshman with a 2.54 kills-per-game average and the second best blocking average on the team at .76. Sophomore Erin Wisor (Altoona/Altoona) has done a little of everything for the Blue and Gold. She is second in kills (300), second in digs (277) and fourth in serve aces (32).

THE REST OF THE REGIONAL FIELD: King's is making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament after compiling 38 wins against only one loss this season. Eastern is appearing in the Tournament for the fourth time and for the fourth-consecutive season. Rowan enters the competition after winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference, and will be making their second appearance in the "big dance." Gettysburg is the NCAA "veteran" of the group, this will be the Bullets 10th tournament appearance. Frostburg State has an NCAA record of 1-2, as they enter the tournament for the third time.

TICKET PRICES: Ticket prices for each day are $4 for adults, $3 for students with identification, and $2 for children under 12.

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