Men’s volleyball opens CVC era with win over Thiel
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Juniata College men's volleyball opened a new chapter in its history on Wednesday night, defeating Thiel College, 3-0, at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center
Set scores for Juniata were 25-19, 25-17, 25-19.
The match was Juniata's first conference contest in the new Continental Volleyball Conference, following the realignment of collegiate men's volleyball this past summer with the creation of a separate NCAA Division III men's volleyball championship. Juniata previously competed as a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA).
Freshman outside hitter Paul Kuhn (York, Pa./Central York) paced the Eagles with 15 kills on 27 swings with a .407 hitting percentage, and served up a pair of aces to finish with 17.5 points.
Reigning AVCA and CVC Player of the Week Joe Bortak (Jeannette, Pa./Penn Trafford) logged nine kills with a .571 attack percentage, while pin hitter Ross Madden (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) put away six terminations.
Juniata (13-7, 1-0 CVC East) hit .333 for the match, with senior setter John Almquist (York, Pa./Central York) amassing 30 assists. Senior Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) turned up seven digs, while Madden logged six.
Thiel (10-8, 0-1 CVC East) was led by junior middle Dante McCoy and freshman pin hitter John Turner with eight kills each, with McCoy registering three total blocks. Sophomore middle Kyle Turkalj had a team-high four blocks, while freshman Ian Phillips had nine digs.
The Eagles pulled away from the Tomcats fairly early in set one, going on a four-point run to break open a 6-6 set, with Madden and Bortak each recording kills during the surge. Thiel twice pulled to within one point of Juniata, but a five-point run late in the set produced a 21-16 lead for the Eagles. A Bortak kill got Juniata to set point, with Kuhn finishing off the set with a termination.
Thiel was able to score on its own serve just three times in the second set, as Juniata slowly built its lead before finishing off the frame on a Madden kill.
A late run allowed the Eagles to take set three and the match. Thiel hung in with Juniata throughout much of the set, and were still tied with the Eagles at 17-17. A kill by Kuhn, a Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) block, and a Tomcat bad set vaulted Juniata into a 20-17 lead, and after exchanging side out points the Eagles advantage stood at 21-18. Kuhn's kill, followed by a Kuhn-Almquist double block, and a Thiel attack error got Juniata to match point, and a Phillips service error two points later handed the win to the Eagles.
Juniata will continue CVC play this weekend, as the Eagles head to Stevenson University for matches against Philadelphia Biblical, Eastern Mennonite, and the host Stevenson squad.