HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata women's volleyball team dropped the final three sets as they lost, 3-2 (25-17, 26-24, 18-25, 21-25, 10-15), to visiting #18 Susquehanna, Saturday evening in a loud Memorial Gymnasium with #1 seed in the Landmark Playoffs on the line.
The opening set was a back and forth affair early, as the River Hawks clung to a 9-11 lead early on after leading 5-10. A kill from Emma Davis (East Berlin, Pa / Dover Area HS), an ace from Marie Gonsar (New Castle, Pa. / Shenango H.S.), two errors from the River Hawks and a kill from Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del. / Delaware Military Academy) made it 14-11. Susquehanna tallied a kill following a timeout to make it 14-12, but the Eagles kept up the pressure. Another kill from Davis, an attack error from the visitor's, a block by Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa. / Penn Manor) and Moira Folan (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Oakland Catholic HS) followed by back to back Edwards kills made it 19-12. The Eagles cruised from there, and with the score at 24-17, another Edwards kill ended the match 25-17.
The second set was much tighter as Juniata held a narrow lead for almost the entire set with the River Hawks staying within five points. Late in the set with the score at 21-16, Susquehanna scored seven of the next nine to even things at 23-23. Taylor put down a kill followed a timeout, but the River Hawks responded with a kill to make it 24-24. Taylor smacked down another kill to give JC set point and Edwards followed with one of her own to put Juniata in the driver's seat, 26-24 and up two sets to none.
Susquehanna took the first five points of the third as they tried to run away with it. Juniata scored six of the following seven points to close within one, 6-7. But Juniata couldn't get any closer as the River Hawks just methodically added to their lead until they took the third, 18-25.
The fourth set was a back and forth affair that saw Susquehanna hold an early lead before Juniata slowly pulled ahead, holding a narrow 16-15 lead. The teams traded points, with the River Hawks eventually nosing ahead, 20-21. A kill from Davis tied things at 21-21, but Susquehanna took the final four points of the set to send the match to a fifth set.
The teams traded points with the River Hawks hanging on to a one-point lead following a kill from Gonsar, 6-7. The River Hawks took the next three points to gup 6-10 before a massive cross-court kill from Taylor and a block by Taylor and Edwards made it 9-11. The River Hawks took the next two points to make it 9-13 and forced an Eagle timeout. Taylor put down another kill, but Susquehanna took the final two points they needed to win, 10-15.
This is the first time Susquehanna has ever defeated Juniata. This will also be the first Landmark Conference postseason where the one seed is not Juniata.
The Eagles will host, Elizabethtown in the #2 vs #3 game, Wednesday. Time TBD.