OWINGS MILLS, Md.- The Juniata men's volleyball team could not complete the comeback as they dropped a 3-2 (27-29, 18-25, 25-16, 25-23, 11-15) decision at Stevenson, Friday evening.
The opening set saw neither team grab a lead with JC holding a narrow 7-6 advantage. Juniata proceeded to go on a 7-3 spurt to ahead by five, 14-9. The Mustangs came back to take a 18-20 lead. A kill from Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township), David Hibner (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary) and an ace from Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge) gave Juniata the lead back at 21-20. Two Stevenson errors had JC up 23-21, but the Mustangs took the next three points for set point. A kill from Hibner tied the score, and the teams continued to battle as the Eagles fought off set point twice to stay alive. Stevenson eventually captured the first set, 27-29.
The second set started similarly, with Juniata again staking themselves to a narrow 7-6 lead. This time, Stevenson went ahead 8-11 and never looked back. The Eagles trailed by one to two points, with another Hibner kill pulling JC within one at 15-16. The Mustangs scored the next four points and Juniata quickly called timeout. Trailing 15-21, Fick and Peterson put down back to back kills but the Mustangs took four of the final five points to take the second set.
Juniata came flying out to start the third set as they grabbed a 10-3 lead early and never looked back. The Eagles continue to push their lead as they led by as many as 10 at 21-11. Two kills from Peterson gave JC the third set, 25-16, as Juniata looked to continue their success in the fourth set.
The Eagles continued their hot starts, as they led 9-5, led by four kills from Fick. The Mustangs pulled within two at 12-10 before kills from Fick, a block from Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) and Peterson followed by a Mustang ball handling error which forced Stevenson to call timeout. The Mustangs scored the next point after the timeout before committing three straight errors to put Juniata up 18-11. Juniata led by 22-15, but Stevenson took charge with a 1-8 run to tie the score at 23-23. Fick smashed two kills to send the match to a fifth set.
Stevenson went up 0-3 before Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) put JC on the board with a kill. The Mustangs went up 4-10 and JC called timeout. Sean Cavanagh (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Seneca Valley) made it 5-10 and the teams traded points. Kills from Hibner and Peterson made it 7-12 but the Mustangs took the next two points via a kill and a JC attack error as they reached match point. Two Stevenson errors made it 11-14 and the Mustangs called timeout before putting down the final kill of the match.
Fick had a season-high 19 kills, 23 digs and a block assist. Peterson had 18 kills, four aces, a solo block and a block assist. Hibner had eight kills and four block assists while Bender had eight kills and two block assists. Schaeffer had 51 assists, eight digs and three block assists.
The Eagles travel to Marymount tomorrow for big CVC showdown. Game time is 3:00 p.m.