HUNTINGDON, PA- Playing in front on of a loud and boisterous home crowd at Memorial Gymnasium, the #4 Juniata men's volleyball team played host to #1 Stevens Institute of Technology on Wednesday night. In what was an intense match, the Ducks came away victors with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20) decision over the Eagles.
Juniata had three players in double figures in kills led by Joe Bortak's (Jeannette, PA/Penn Trafford) 15. Paul Kuhn (York, PA/Central York) added 14 and Justin Waldorf (Eden, NY/Eden) added 10. Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, MD/Howard) chipped in nine and Chad Albert (Cranberry Township, PA/Seneca Valley) contributed eight.
On the defensive end, Tommy Keisling (Sewickley, PA/North Allegheny) led the way with 11 digs. Matt Elias (Lansdale, PA/North Penn) tallied nine digs and six block assists while picking up 47 assists. Albert also had six block assists.
The Eagles led in the first set 8-4. Stevens was able to close to within one point, 8-7, but Juniata restored its four-point lead with three straight points to go up 11-7.
A 13-6 run by the Ducks put Stevens ahead 20-17. Juniata fought back to force a tie with a pair of Kuhn kills sandwiching a Stevens error. After exchanging points, the Ducks went ahead 24-21. JC was able to get to within 24-22, but a Ducks kill ended the frame and Stevens led the match 1-0.
It was the Ducks who came out with the lead in the second game. A 14-10 lead grew to 20-14 and 21-15 and Stevens looked like that it would easily take the set. The Eagles, however, would not go down without a fight as they put up four points to only trail 21-19. JC could not get close the deficit to less than two as Stevens won the set 25-22.
Juniata trailed 3-2 in the fourth stanza but tallied five straight points to leap ahead 7-3. The Ducks rallied to get to within one three times (17-16, 19-18, 21-20) before tying it up at 21-all. The Eagles were able to get some separation between themselves and the Ducks and led 24-21. Stevens did get a point on a kill and looked for more, but a bad set cost them a point and JC was able to win the frame.
The Eagles looked to carry its momentum in the fourth set. Both teams exchanged points in the early moments and neither could go on a sustained run. Stevens did get ahead 16-13 before JC got to within one point of tying the set up. Juniata got to within 19-18, but a 6-2 run by the Ducks down the stretch was too much as Stevens walked off the court with the victory.
Juniata will return action next Wednesday, April 1 on the road against Rutgers-Newark. Match time will be at 7 p.m.