HUNTINGDON, PA- Senior middle blocker Joe Bortak (Jeanette, PA/Penn Trafford) registered the 1,000th kill of his career as the Juniata men's volleyball team defeated Cairn 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-19) on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium. He is the first player to achieve the milestone since Chris Vrooman last reached it in 2010.
The Eagles led 5-0 in the first set before the Highlanders could even register a point. Cairn got to within 8-7 but the Eagles put a little distance between themselves and their opponent with a 3-0 run to leap ahead 11-7. The JC lead grew to 14-8 and then eventually 21-12. After Cairn made it 22-15, kills from Bortak and Paul Kuhn (York, PA/Central York) with an attack error by the Highlanders sandwiched in between gave Juniata the points it needed to take the game.
Juniata led 5-2 in the second frame but Cairn was able to narrow the lead to 6-5. After tying it up at 6-6, JC ripped off four points to go ahead 10-6. The Highlanders again got to within one point, 11-10 and 14-13, but once again the Eagles were able to get a little breathing room. The score stood at 24-21 in Juniata's favor and Mark Feiler (Mountville, PA/Hempfield) was able to get the kill and put JC ahead 2-0 in the match.
The Eagles were up 5-4 and went on a 7-1 run to go ahead 12-5. The lead increased to 20-12 but the Highlanders were able to get to within 21-17. The score stood at 22-18 in JC's favor and the Eagles used a 3-1 run to end the game and come away with the win.
Kuhn led the offense and defense with 13 kills and seven digs. Bortak added six kills. Matt Elias put up 23 assists.
In the Eagles second match of the day, they took out Wells in three sets (25-17, 25-15,25-20). Kuhn tallied 19 kills, three digs, and three block assists. Matthew Kinnebrew (Lansdowne, VA/Stonebridge) tacked on eight kills. Justin Waldorf (Eden, NY/Eden) led the defense with 11 digs. Ryan Shelton (Baldwinsville, NY/Baldwinsville) totaled 20 assists while Quinn Looper (Houston, TX/Episcopal) added 17 assists.
Juniata's lead was 8-7 before it went on a 7-2 run to go up 15-9. The Express was able to get to within 18-15 but another 7-2 Eagle run was too much as JC took the first game.
The second set was tied at 8-8 and the Eagles went on a 5-1 run to go up 13-9. The lead grew to 17-10 and eventually 20-12. At 21-15, Juniata picked up four straight points on kills by Kuhn and Jim Keuper (Brookfield, WI/Brookfield) and attack errors by Wells to take the frame and lead 2-0.
Wells led 11-8 at one point in the third game. Juniata rallied with four points to assume a 12-11 advantage. The Express were able to tie the set up three times with the last time coming at 16-16. A service error on Wells followed by a kill from Kuhn staked the Eagles to an 18-16 lead. Wells was able to get to within 18-17 but another service error by the Express along with back-to-back kills from Keuper and Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, PA/Derry Area) got Juniata ahead 21-17. It was a 24-20 match before Kuhn slammed the door on Wells with a kill to give Juniata the victory.
The Eagles will be idle until March 17 when they host Thiel in a rescheduled match from March 3. Match time from Memorial Gymnasium will be at 7 p.m.