HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata women's volleyball team swept through the final day of the 25th Juniata ASICS Invitational, defeating Messiah and Swarthmore 3-0, Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium.
Megan Moroney (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) was named tournament MVP after her strong play over the three matches. Moroney notched 23 kills, seven block assists and two solo blocks combined over the course of the three matches. Marybeth Weihbrecht (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) and Katie Byrne (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) were named to the All-Tournament Team. Weihbrecht notched 23 kills, two solo blocks and seven block assists while Byrne notched 49 digs, 14 assists and six aces.
The Eagles opened the day with Messiah, with the Falcons racing out to an early 4-0 lead in the first set. Juniata scored the next three points to get within one. Neither team could create any separation over the next few points and the score ended up tied at 11-11. The Falcons went up 13-12 before Juniata began take a narrow lead. Two errors by Messiah and a Marie Gonsar (New Castle, Pa./Shenango HS) ace pushed the Eagles ahead, 15-13. The Eagles continued to hold a small lead as Messiah wouldn't go away, pulling within one again at 20-19. Juniata got a block and kill from Dejia Danhi (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge), two kills from Gonsar to get to set point. Messiah pulled one back before Moroney finished the first set with a kill.
The second set was another tightly contested opening with four ties over the first 18 points and neither team leading by more than four. With the teams locked at 9-9, Juniata reeled of five straight points to take a 14-9 lead and the lead never got smaller than four the rest of the way. With set point, Korin Koehler (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall) got Juniata to 25 with an ace.
The third set was more of the same, as Messiah hung around early before the Eagles went on another run. With the score 11-9 Juniata, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run sparked by Byrne, who had four aces. Juniata coasted from there, 25-16 with freshman Carrie McGlohon (LaVerne, Calif/Bonita HS) getting her first colligate kill on match point.
Against Swarthmore, Juniata took control over the first set by opening with a 12-4 run and never letting the Garnet to get closer than four on the way to a 25-17 set one victory. Set two saw Swarthmore hang around early before a five-point run capped by kills from Gonsar and Moroney to take a 16-9 lead. Swarthmore battled back within three at 20-17 before Juniata closed on a 5-0 run two take set two. This set the stage for a thrilling third set.
After taking the first point via a Swarthmore attacking error, the teams basically went point for point to get to 5-5 before the Eagles scored three straight to get to 8-5. The teams traded points with another Maroney kill making it 10-7. The Garnett went on 6-0 run to take a 13-10 run and Juniata took timeout. Maroney had two more kills to keep Juniata within shouting distance as but the Garnet kept pace and continued to lead 18-12.
Another Juniata timeout sparked three quick points for the Eagles behind a Victoria Taylor (Middletown, DE/Delaware Military Academy) kill and two Garnet attacking errors. Swarthmore notched the next three points to make it 21-15. Weihbrecht and Gonsar mashed a kill each and a Koehler ace pulled the Eagles within three at 21-18. The teams went back and forth, and an attack error by Juniata made it 24-21 Swarthmore as the Eagles were on the wrong side of set point. Maroney notched her 11th kill of the match to make it 22-24 and the visitors immediately called timeout. A Garnet attack error followed by Maroney's 12th killed tied the score at 24-24. The teams traded points, with each team having chances to win and ahead 30-29, Byrne set Gonsar for the final kill to get Juniata the 31-29 win.
The Eagles move to 7-0 on the year and will play Claremont M-S in the East/West Challenge in Atlanta, Friday at 4:00.