GREENVILLE, Pa. – Juniata College outside hitter Paul Kuhn (York, Pa./Central York) and middle Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) took care of Thiel College at the pin and in the middle, leading the fourth-ranked Eagles to a 3-0 win over Thiel College, Wednesday night at Beeghly Gymnasium.
Set scores for Juniata were 25-18, 25-23, and 26-24.
Kuhn finished with 11 kills to go with a service ace and a block solo on his way to 13.0 points for the Eagles, who improved to 23-9 with the win. Wolff logged 10 terminations on 19 swings behind a .368 hitting percentage, and added three block assists to finish with 11.5 points.
Freshman middle Joe Bortak (Jeannette, Pa./Penn Trafford) contributed eight kills.
Juniata (23-9, 5-0 CVC East) hit .264 for the match, outpacing Thiel's (15-15, 2-3 CVC East) .206 attack clip. Senior setter John Almquist (York, Pa./Central York) logged 34 assists at the helm of the Eagle offense, with three service aces and seven digs. Mark Feiler (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield) led the Eagles defensively with 13 digs, while Ben Krouse (Holland, Pa./Council Rock South) sprawled for 11.
Thiel was led by Andrew Pohlod with 11 kills – the only Tomcat to post a double-digit kill total. Dante McCoy charted nine kills on a .094 hitting percentage to go with his four block assists, while Michael Whitelock had seven kills on a .583 hitting percentage with two blocks.
After dominating the opening frame with a .409 hitting percentage to Thiel's .107, Juniata found tougher going in the second set. Thiel led much of the early-going, until a four-point Juniata run briefly gave the Eagles an 18-17 lead. A Thiel side out point knotted the set at 18-18, and five more side out points left Juniata with a 21-20 advantage. The set was eventually tied up again at 22-22, but Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) broke the deadlock in the Eagles' favor. Wolff put away a kill to put Juniata on set point, and another Wolff termination two points later allowed Juniata to grab a 2-0 lead in sets.
In set three, Juniata's lead reached 16-12 when Thiel started chipping away at the deficit. Back-to-back kills by Whitelock tied things up at 17-17; seven side out points later, the Tomcats held a 21-20 lead. An attack error by Kuhn extended Thiel's lead to 22-20, but Kuhn redeemed himself with a kill on the next series to cut the Tomcat lead to 22-21. Kills by Thiel's John Turner and Juniata's Bortak advanced the score to 23-22, and McCoy scored the next kill to put the Tomcats on set point, 24-22.
With McCoy serving, an attack error by Thiel's Corey Hamilton returned service back to Juniata with the score 24-23. The Eagles rattled off the next three points off the serve of Brian Jaron (Severna Park, Md./Mount St. Joseph) – a Kraft kill sandwiched around attack errors by Turner and McCoy – to give Juniata the extra-points win and the match.
Juniata will close out the 2012 season with four straight home matches, starting with matches on Friday, March 30, against Philadelphia Biblical (4:00 p.m.) and Stevenson (8:00 p.m.).