RIVER FOREST, IL- The Juniata men's volleyball team traveled on the road for the first time this year. The Eagles played Benedictine on the campus of Dominican University and went to four sets where JC came out with a 3-1 victory (25-20, 29-31, 25-22, 25-16.
Juniata was led offensively by Paul Kuhn's (York, PA/Central York) 14 kills. Joe Bortak (Jeanette, PA/Penn Trafford) and Justin Waldorf (Eden, NY/Eden) both tallied 12 kills with Waldorf tacking on 14 digs. Ryan Shelton (Baldwinsville, NY/CW Baker) accumulated 46 assists. Tommy Keisling (Sewickley, PA/North Allegheny) chipped in 12 digs.
The Eagles led for most of the first set. Their lead grew to as much was 18-11. Juniata was at set point at 24-18 after Waldorf nailed a kill. Benedictine got to within 24-20, but Bortak's kill ended the set as JC went ahead 1-0.
BU evened the match up with its victory in the second game. The third set was back and forth early on until the Eagles broke away from a 14-14 tie to spring away 19-14. Despite being outscored 8-6 down the stretch, JC still took the game and led 2-1.
Benedictine took an early advantage in the fourth set, 8-7. After a 9-9 tie, JC rattled of five straight points to go ahead 14-9. Juniata increased its lead to 18-11 but BU battled back to get to 19-15. The Eagles proved to be too much in the end as they outscored their opponents 6-1 to win the game and the match.
Juniata faced the host Stars in the second match. The decision went the Eagles way as they won 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 25-15).
Waldorf led the offense with 14 kills. Bortak added 12 kills and five assisted blocks. Kuhn contributed eight kills. Shelton had an impressive outing with 43 assists, seven digs, and three assisted blocks.
Keisling led the defensive effort with 13 digs. Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, MD/Howard) had five assisted blocks.
JC led in the early stages of the first set but Dominican was right at its heels. The Eagles pulled away slightly as they broke a 15-15 tie to go up 18-15. Juniata got to match point after a kill by Waldorf brought them to 24-21. The Stars got a point on a service error but Juniata ended it on another Waldorf kill to go ahead 1-0.
The two teams battled it out in the second frame. The momentum swung in Domincan's favor after they led by five points, 21-16. Juniata was able to close the gap to 22-20 but the Stars scored the last three points to claim the set and tie the match at 1-1.
Dominican led in the third set early on by as much as four points, 11-7. The Eagles were able to keep it close and eventually got to tying the match up at 21-21. A 4-2 run to close out the game gave the Eagles the 25-23 win.
Despite the momentum on their side, the fourth set started off as a back and forth affair. Juniata was able to pull away as it led 14-9 and then 21-11 on its way to a 25-15 win.
Juniata (6-0) will next play at Carthage on Saturday afternoon. Match time will be at 2 p.m. Eastern time.