LEXINGTON, Va.- The Juniata men's volleyball team stormed back from two sets down but could not quite complete the comeback as they fell, 3-2 (22-25, 20-25, 25-16, 26-24, 10-15), to #8 Southern Virginia Saturday afternoon at Rockbridge High School in the Continental Volleyball Conference championship game.
Set one saw neither team go ahead by more than three as the teams felt each other out. Late in the set, the Knights went ahead 20-22, before an attack error brought the Eagles back within one. The teams continued to trade points, with a Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev. / Shadow Ridge) kill making it 22-23. That was the final point of the set as SVU took the next two to capture set one, 22-25.
Set two was similar as the teams stayed tight most of the way, until a 5-0 surge from the Knights had them up, 17-22. David Hibner (Burke, Va. / Lake Braddock Secondary) and Peterson each tallied a kill apiece before teaming up for a block to pull the Eagles within two. SVU called timeout, and proceeded to score the final three points of set two to win, 20-25.
Backs against the wall, the Eagles put together their best set of the match as they built up a 12-7 lead early and eventually pushing the lead two seven at 22-15 on a block by Sean Cavanagh (Burke, Va. / Lake Braddock Secondary). The Knights took the next point, but Juniata shut the door from there. A Knight attack error paired with a Peterson kill gave them set point and a block from Cavanagh and Hibner ended set three, 25-16. JC had their besting set hitting the ball as they hit .526.
Set four was much tighter as Southern Virginia looked to end things. Coming out of a timeout late, SVU tallied the next three points to lead 21-19. Juniata called a time out of their own, with Hibner putting down a kill before SVU responded with one of their own to make it 20-22. Another Peterson kill and a service ace from Cavanagh tied things. The teams went back and forth, with SVU reaching set point before a Kevin Duffy (Carlisle, Pa. / Carlisle HS) kill knotted things at 24-24. A Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa. / Peters Township) had the Eagles on the brink of a fifth set and Peterson smashed another ball into the floor to end set four, 26-24.
The Eagles scored three of the first four points of the final set on a kill from Fick and two from Duffy. SVU scored the next three to go up 3-4, and the teams traded points from there. SVU scored two straight to go up 6-8 before another Fick kill pulled JC back within one, 7-8. The Knights scored four straight to make it 7-12 before another Duffy kill broke up the run. Nahuel Recabarren of Southern Virginia put down his match-high 33rd kill to make it 8-13. A service error and another Peterson kill pulled Juniata within three, 10-13, but the Knights took the final two points to win the match, 15-10.
Michael Young (Westlake Village, Calif. / Westlake Village) had two kills 18 assists, two digs and a block assist while Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa. / Northeastern) tallied 29 assists, three digs and a block assist. Daniel Voronov (Northbrook, Ill. / Glenbrook North HS) added four assists and 13 digs.
Juniata is now 22-8 and will find out next week what their postseason fate is.