Eagles Drop Matches to Royals, Banana Slugs

Eagles Drop Matches to Royals, Banana Slugs

Harrisonburg, Va.- The Juniata men's volleyball team had a rough afternoon with a 3-1 (23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25) loss to Eastern Mennonite and a 3-1 (20-25, 29-27, 23-25, 22-25) loss to #4 UC Santa Cruz, Friday afternoon at Yoder Arena. 

The teams traded points early before the Royals surged ahead with a 6-0 run, 8-14. Trailing by as many as 12-20, the Eagles battled back. A kill from David Hibner (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary), a block by Hibner and Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township), a kill from Fick and a ball handling error by the Royals narrowed the gap to two at 21-23. Another Fick kill brought JC within one, 23-24, before EMU captured the next point to take set one.

The second set saw the Eagles fall behind early and trail by a few points most of the way, with a kill from Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) pull JC back within one, 15-16. The Royals pulled ahead by as many as five, 18-23. JC took the next two points to make it 20-23 forcing an EMU timeout. The Royals took the final two points as they went up two sets to none.

The third set saw the Eagles try to bounce back from a narrow deficit for most of the set as EMU went for the sweep. Down three, a Hibner kill followed by a block by Sean Cavanagh (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Seneca Valley) and an attack error tied things at 22-22. EMU called timeout but JC kept rolling, taking the three of the next four points, with a Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge) kill giving Juniata the third set. 

JC jumped out to a 5-3 lead in before a 6-0 run made it 5-9 EMU. The Eagles responded with a quick 5-1 surge to knot things up at 10-10. The teams battled back and forth, but EMU forced set point with 22-24. Hibner laid down a kill to keep the game alive but the Royals took the next point and the match.

Hibner hit .364 with 10 kills and added three block assists, Fick had 11 kills and 10 digs while Peterson had 14 kills, an ace, five digs and two block assists. Cavanagh had seven kills, hit .429 with four digs, a solo block and two block assists. Bender added seven kills and two block assists.

In the second match of the day against UC Santa Cruz, they jumped out to a 0-5 lead in the opening set and cruised from there. Juniata trailed by 10-18 at one point before falling 20-25.

The second set saw Santa Cruz grab a commanding 4-12 lead as the Eagles struggled early. Juniata managed to get close behind a 5-1 run as they made it 16-19. The Banana Slugs forced set point at 22-24, but JC was not done. A William Hafen (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) kill and a block by Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) tied it at 24-24.  Another Hafen kill and an attack error gave JC set point. Juniata could not seal the deal on up 27-26 as the Banana Slugs tied it up at 27. Kills from Peterson and Hibner ended the set 29-27. 

The Eagles trailed 5-10 early. A few points a quick three-point surge behind kills from Peterson and Cavanagh paired with a Santa Cruz attack error brought the Eagles within two at 10-12. Santa Cruz went up 12-17 but Juniata managed to another run as they tied things at 19-19. A Peterson kill pulled JC even at 23-23, but the Banana Slugs took the next two points as they went up two sets to one. 

Juniata took the first four points of the set as they built a 9-4 lead early. The Banana Slugs came back and tied things at 11-11 as the teams traded points. Six ties over the next several points, with the Banana Slugs taking a 19-21 lead. Two Peterson kills and a Santa Cruz ball handling error put the Eagles up 22-21, but the Banana Slugs closed JC out taking the final four points and the match, 22-25.

Peterson had 20 kills, 10 digs, two aces and five block assists. Cavanagh had nine kills, an ace, eight digs and a block assist. Hibner had nine kills, three digs and four block assists. Schaeffer had 43 assists, three digs and two solo blocks.

The Eagles will face Southern Virginia, tomorrow at 2:00.