HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The score may say otherwise but Juniata and Stevenson played a tight four-set match on Friday night at Memorial Gymnasium. It was no more than a three-point differential in all four sets but the Mustangs were able to defeat the Eagles 3-1.
The loss snaps Juniata's six-match winning streak and drops it to 10-5 overall and 5-1 in the Continental Volleyball Conference. Stevenson improves to 12-7 and 3-2 in the CVC.
The first set was tied 4-4 before the Eagles went on a 5-1 run to go ahead 9-5. An 11-3 Mustang run gave the advantage to Stevenson 16-12. JC got to within one points, 16-15, but Stevenson would stay ahead and outlast Juniata 25-22 to lead 1-0 in the match.
A 7-7 tie in the second set was broken by a 6-2 Mustang run that gave the visitors a 13-9 lead. A 9-3 JC run put the Eagles on top 18-16. Stevenson grabbed the lead back with a 7-1 run to go ahead 23-19. Juniata got the score to 24-23 but Stevenson's Alex Klunk got the kill to give the Mustangs the winning point and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Stevenson led 7-5 in the third set until the Eagles were able to wrestle the lead away with four straight points to go up 9-7. The lead changed hands a total of six times. The Mustangs clung to a 23-22 advantage but the Eagles came back with points on two Stevenson attack errors and finally a kill from Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) to come out with a 25-23 win.
The Mustangs led 15-13 in the fourth set. Juniata countered with six straight points to lead 19-15. Stevenson regained the lead thanks to a 6-1 run. The Eagles battled back and were able to get ahead 23-22 but the Mustangs picked up three points on two kills and an attack error to take the set 25-23 and win the match.
Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge) matched his career high with 21 kills. He added nine digs, five assisted blocks, and three service aces. Seeley tallied 15 kills, eight assisted blocks, and four digs. Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, Pa./Derry Area) chipped in eight digs. Michael Young (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake Village) finished with 41 assists, four digs, and two assisted blocks. Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, pa./Central Dauphin) led with a .538 hitting percentage and put down eight kills and assisted on three blocks.
Juniata returns to action next Friday March 3 when they travel to play SUNY New Paltz. The Eagles will be looking to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Hawks back on January 28 in Huntingdon. Match time is at 7:00 p.m.