ARLINGTON, Va.- The Juniata men's volleyball team was one step away from the Continental Volleyball Conference title match on Friday as it faced off against Stevenson in the semifinals. The Eagles were able to get past their first hurdle as they defeated the defending champion Mustangs 3-1 to advance to the championship.
JC was led by the trio of Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge), Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin), and Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, Pa/Derry Area). The three combined for 42 kills with Vasinko's 14 a season-high and Bender's 11 tying a season high.
Juniata got out to a 14-6 lead in the first set. The advantage grew to 20-12 as the Eagles eventually won 25-19 to go up 1-0 in the match.
In the second set, Stevenson took a 6-3 lead but JC was able to chip away at the deficit and trail only 10-9. Juniata was able to jump ahead 13-10 and never trailed again despite the Mustang's effort. The Eagles won the frame 25-22.
The Mustangs went ahead in the third set and led at one point 18-12. The Eagles came roaring back with an 8-2 run to tie the frame at 20-20. Three straight Stevenson points gave it a 23-20 advantage. Juniata was able to cut to 24-23 but the Mustangs got the winning point on a kill from Nate Ellis to force a fourth set.
JC got out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth stanza and was up 15-11. Stevenson closed to within two points at 16-14 but a 9-4 Juniata run that ended with a Vasinko kill gave the Eagles the set win at 25-18.
Juniata outhit Stevenson .413 to .252. Both Bender and Vasinko sported .444 hitting percentages with Peterson at .313. Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) added nine kills on 17 swings for a .529 clip.
Michael Young (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake Village) paced the offense with 48 assists and also was a contributor on defense with eight digs and five block assists. Vasinko led with 10 digs while Seeley tallied six block assists.
Juniata will be making its third appearance in the CVC Championship match after advancing in 2013 and 2014. The Eagles will face Eastern Mennonite, which knocked off top seed Marymount 3-2 in the day's other semifinal. Match time will be at 6:00 p.m.