HUNTINGDON, Pa.- For the 12th straight time in Landmark Conference history and the 38th straight time in #6 Juniata College women's volleyball history, the Eagles are conference champions after their 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-16) win over Susquehanna Saturday evening in Memorial Gymnasium.
Alyssa Tavera (Whittier, Calif. / La Salle H.S.) opened the match with an ace for JC. A kill from Dejia Danhi (Ashburn, Va. / Stone Bridge), a River Hawk attack error, two straight kills from Championship Most Valuable Player Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa. / Penn Manor), another River Hawk error and a kill from Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del. / Delaware Military Academy) had the Eagles up 7-0 quick. Susquehanna managed to get back within five at 15-10. A Moira Folan (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Oakland Catholic HS) kill and another Susquehanna error pushed the lead back to seven. Another 4-0 surge from the Eagles made it 21-11. The River Hawks took three of the next four points to make it 22-14, but the Eagles closed it down from there. A kill from Marie Gonsar (New Castle, Pa. / Shenango H.S.) along with one from Marybeth Weihbrecht (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Cumberland Valley) gave the Eagles set point before another Folan kill ended set one 25-14.
Susquehanna opened the second set strong as they jumped out to 2-6 lead. Kills from Edwards and Weihbrecht along with a Sophia Gingrich (Minneapolis, Minn. / Minneapolis Southwest H.S.) ace pulled Juniata within two at 5-7. Later, a kill Makenna Hallager (Glenolden, Pa. / Merion Mercy Academy) gave the Eagles their first lead of the set at 12-11. The teams traded points, and kills from Edwards and Gonsar along with another Gingrich ace helped Juniata push ahead by three. The River Hawks took the next point before a kill from Hallagher and an ace from Gonsar made it 19-15, forcing a River Hawk timeout. Blocks from Weihbrecht and Folan along with an attack error made it 21-15. Susquehanna took the next two points before Taylor put down back to back kills to get JC to 23-17. After a service error, a kill from Danhi and a visitor attack error put JC one set away from their 12th championship, 25-18.
With the third set at 3-3, Juniata cranked up the pressure. Two kills from Edwards, a kill from Gonsar, a block by Edwards and Weihbrecht, a solo block by Weihbrecht and several River Hawk errors had Juniata ahead 12-3. Susquehanna eventually got within seven at 23-16, but those were their final points. Weihbrecht smashed another kill and an attack error by Susquehanna ended the match, 25-16.
With the win, Juniata at earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They head into the NCAA Tournament 24-3, riding a 22-game winning streak with 18 of those wins coming via sweep.