HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata men's volleyball team battled with #7 Kean but ultimately fell, 3-1 (27-25, 29-31, 23-25, 19-25), Friday night in a loud Memorial Gymnasium.
The opening set featured 13 ties and both teams hit well over .400 as Kean hit .444 while the Eagles had their best set hitting the ball as they hit .481. The teams traded kills early and often as they were neck and neck throughout. Trailing 18-20, kills from David Hibner (Burke, Va. / Lake Braddock Secondary) and Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev. / Shadow Ridge) along with a Cougar attack error gave Juniata a one-point lead. the teams traded kills, with another Hibner kill making 22-21 and Kean called timeout. The Cougars struck with back to back kills and Junita called a timeout of their own. Two straight errors gave Juniata the lead back at set point, 24-23. Two service errors by the Eagles sandwiched around a Peterson kill made it 25-25. Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa. / Peters Township) smacked back to back kills to end set one in the favor of the Eagles, 27-25.
Neither team hit as efficiently in the second set but the team stayed evenly match as again neither team gained any separation. With the score at 22-23, a Cougar attack error and another cross court kill from Peterson had the Eagles at set point, 24-23 and Kean called timeout. Juniata reach set point another five times, but the Cougars kept themselves alive to prevent falling into a 2-0 hole. Another massive kill from Peterson made it 29-28, but that was the final point Juniata scored as the Cougars took three straight to steal the second set, 29-31.
The Third set saw Juniata slowly build up a five-point lead early at 13-8 behind kills from Peterson and Hibner, an ace from Austin Goodsel (Corry, Pa. / Fort Leboeuf HS) paired with errors from the Cougars. Kean got within two several times before finally pulling even at 21-21. A Fick kill made it 22-21 before the Cougars struck for two straight to force an Eagle timeout. A big block from Kevin Duffy (Carlisle, Pa. / Carlisle HS) tied things up before the Cougars closed with a kill and a JC bad set as Juniata fell 23-25.
The Cougars closed the match with their best hitting percentage at .480 as they built up a 9-18 lead the Eagles couldn't quite come back from. Juniata took the next five points with an ace from Leland Hacecky (Ashburn, Va. / Stone Bridge) an attack error by Kean, a kill from Fick and a block from Hibner made it 14-18 but they got no closer as Kean took set four 19-25.
The Eagles will host Rutgers-Newark at 4:00 PM tomorrow.