WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Juniata women's volleyball team swept both Goucher and Catholic, 3-0, in Landmark play Saturday evening at the DuFour Center.
The Eagles took on the Goucher Gophers in their first matchup of the day. Rachel Boe (San Carlos, Calif./Saint Francis) led Juniata with nine kills and two block assists, Christine Irwin (State College, Pa./State College) logged six kills, and Tatum Poirier (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley HS) notched five kills, three service aces, and one block assist. Sophia Gingrich (Minneapolis, Minn./Minneapolis Southwest HS) totaled 10 assists and five service aces.
Juniata jumped out to a strong start, the team allowing Goucher to score only nine points in the first set. The Eagles took the first five points off of kills from Alyssa Tavera (Whittier, Calif./La Salle HS) and Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor) and two Poirier service aces. The team continued to hold onto a hefty lead, going up 14-3 after a six-point run and ultimately took the set, 25-9.
The second set was much closer, however, the Eagles never wavered from their lead after the Gophers put the initial point on the board. Goucher came within one at 6-5, but Juniata put up four more back to back points with two Boe kills and a Katie Byrne (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) service ace to increase their lead 10-5. The Eagles continued to widen the gap, but the Gophers were able to put up three points to make the difference 18-15. The two teams continued to battle back and forth until Dejia Danhi (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) notched a kill at 22-19. Goucher had an attack error and two service errors to put the Eagles at a 24-20 advantage and a kill from Tavera sealed the 25-21 Juniata win in set two.
The Eagles dominated a majority of the third, however, midway through the set a four point run by the Gophers had the two teams tied at 12-12. Juniata proceeded to score an additional nine after kills from Danhi and Moroney, two service aces from Gingrich, and several Goucher attack errors. The Eagles took a comfortable lead at 20-13 and carried their momentum through to take the set 25-16 for a 3-0 sweep.
Juniata's second match of the day against Catholic was much of the same with the Eagles gaining another 3-0 win.
Marybeth Weihbrecht (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) recorded 13 kills and two block assists, Edwards logged nine kills and three block assists, and Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del./Delaware Military Academy) had eight kills and one block assist. Byrne recorded 23 digs and three service aces.
Juniata led the Cardinals 9-1 early in the first set after eight straight points coming off kills from Weihbrecht, Edwards, and Taylor. Catholic was unable to close the gap throughout the rest of the set, never coming within seven points of the Eagles.
Set two saw Catholic take the lead 1-4 over Juniata before Tavera's kill led to a four point run to put the Eagles up 5-4. The teams traded points back and forth until Weihbrecht and Taylor each had two kills to give Juniata a 18-12 advantage. The Eagles held a steady lead from that point forward with Poirier and Edwards getting the team to a 23-17 difference off their kills. A Cardinal attack error and a kill from Taylor gave Juniata the 25-18 win.
Catholic refused to go away, putting up a strong fight in the third set. Kills by Tavera and Danhi along with Gingrich's service ace put the Eagles up 7-3, but the teams continued to battle with one another. Boe sparked a five point run for Juniata to force a Catholic timeout at 14-7, but the Cardinals continued to put pressure on the Eagles. Two Catholic kills put the Cardinals within four points of the Eagles and three more points soon after left the Eagles with only a two point advantage at 21-19. Byrne had a service ace to help Juniata reach set point and Edwards notched a kill for the 25-22 victory.
The Eagles return home next weekend to host the Wid Guisler Invitational. Juniata takes the court Friday at 6:00pm against Franklin & Marshall and will return to action Saturday at 12:00pm against Wesleyan and again at 6:00pm to face Johnson & Wales.