HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata men's volleyball team made a valiant effort but could not quite finish the comeback as they lost, 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-19, 13-15), to Hunter College Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium.
JC reached the championship after sweeping aside Misericordia, 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-12) in the mornings' first match. Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev. / Shadow Ridge) led the way for the Eagles as he tallied 15 kills while hitting .571 to go with two solo blocks and two block assists against the Cougars. Kevin Duffy (Carlisle, Pa. / Carlisle HS) had seven kills while hitting .600, Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa. / Peters Township) had seven kills and 10 digs while Theodore Weinberger (Santa Clara, Calif. / Adrian C. Wilcox HS) had five kills while hitting .571. Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa. / Northeastern) tallied 30 assists, two service aces, four digs and a solo block.
The win sent the Eagles to the final, where they met Hunter who defeated CVC foe Ramapo in their semifinal.
The Hawks captured the first two sets whilst holding Juniata to their two worst hitting sets of the match, .121 in the first and .143 as JC faced two sets to none hole.
Set three was tight as the teams tied several times over the middle stretches. The Eagles took a narrow lead, with the Hawks closing within one on a kill, 15-14. Three straight Hunter errors made it 18-14 before the Hawks broke things up with a kill, but Peterson responded with a kill of his own and two more Hunter errors made it 21-15. The lead shrunk to four, 23-19, but Peterson earned the final two points for the Eagles on a solo block and then a service ace.
The fourth set again had Juniata build a small lead and nurse it the rest of the way. Hunter got within three, 17-14, but a back to back Peterson kills pushed the JC lead back to five and Hunter never got closer than four the rest of the way. Later, at set point, 24-19, Fick put down a kill to send the match to a final fifth set.
Early on at 1-1, a big kill from Sean Cavanagh (Cranberry Twp., Pa. / Seneca Valley), an ace from Will Hafen (Las Vegas, Nev. / Bishop Gorman) and a Hawk attack error had JC ahead 4-1. Hunter stayed within three as Juniata continued to lead. A Fick kill made it 11-8, before Hunter struck twice to narrow the lead to one as JC called timeout. Another Fick kill made it 12-10, but the Hawks scored three straight to retake the lead. A thunderous kill from Duffy knotted things at 13-13, but the Hawks captured the final two points to take set 15-13.
Juniata finishes the 23-10.
Peterson surpassed some big personal milestones in his final weekend in an Eagle uniform. He finishes as the all-time kills leader in the Continental Volleyball Conference (1446) and the all-time points leader (1688). His 1446 kills are also the fifth most in program history and the most in the rally scoring era. His 113 service aces rank third all-time in the conference and rank sixth all-time in program history.