(Posted November 12, 2002)

Huntingdon, PA - The Juniata College women's volleyball team took the first step in what they hope will be a long and successful postseason, as the Eagle topped Lebanon Valley 3-0 in a Commonwealth Conference semifinal matchup by scores of 30-27, 30-13 and 30-19. The win moves Juniata on to the championship game of the Commonwealth Tournament where a win will give the Eagles a berth in the NCAA Championship Tournament for the 22nd consecutive season.

Things got off to a slow start for the Eagles as the Flying Dutchmen jumped out to an early lead. Lindsey Habel (Glen Oak/Canton, Ohio) gave the Eagles their first lead at 4-3, and Juniata led by as many as four points several times in the first game. Lebanon Valley, however fought back and led late in the game with a 26-24 advantage. Juniata closed the gap and took the lead on a Niki Mueller (Bishop Guilfoyle/Altoona) kill, and then closed out the match on the strength of some strong serving by Melissa Berdine (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia).

A slight change in the position alignment seemed to jump-start the Eagle offense in the second game. Regular starting libero Johanna Holtan (Fargo North, Fargo, N.D.) was put at the outside hitter spot, and was an immediate factor in the offense with several kills, and then served the Eagles to a 9-4 lead. Erin Wisor (Altoona/Altoona) then served the Eagles to a nine-point run that left the score at 19-7 in favor of Juniata.

The final game played-out much like the second, as the Eagle moved ahead early and never looked back. Juniata led pulled out to an 11-5 lead, and then kept rolling pushing the score to 20-10 and finally closing out the match 30-19. Katie Charles (Manheim Township/Lancaster) knocked down several kills in the third game en route to her team-leading 11 kills for the match. Katie Laucks (West York/York) was solid on the defensive side of things for the Eagles. She registered five blocks, while tossing in a team-leading three aces and pounding out six kills. Wisor had eight kills, and setter Carli Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton) tossed out 43 assists along with seven kills, seven digs and a block. Holtan and her replacement at libero Abby Leonard (Shade/Johnstown) each had 13 digs.

Juniata will host the Championship match of the Commonwealth Conference tournament on Saturday.

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