Eagles Split on Second Day of Wid Guisler Invitational

Megan Moroney hit .321 and tallied 13 kills against Emory.
Megan Moroney hit .321 and tallied 13 kills against Emory.

HUNTINGDON, Pa.- Juniata women's volleyball hosted its final two regular season matches on the second day of the Wid Guisler Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles defeated Geneva in their first match 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-15) and dropped a 3-1 decision to #7 Emory in the nightcap (21-15, 25-17, 15-15, 19-25).


Against the Golden Tornadoes, Juniata went ahead 10-3 in the first set. That lead grew to as much as 18-5 and then 22-9 as the Eagles cruised to a 25-11 win.


The tables were turned in the second set as Geneva got out to a 5-0 lead. The Eagles were able chip away at the deficit and eventually go ahead 14-11. The Golden Tornadoes were able to hang with the Eagles but Juniata was too much in the end as it won 25-19 and took a 2-0 lead in the match. Geneva led early in the third set but Juniata quickly took the lead away and broke a 7-7 tie with a 14-3 run to go up 21-10 on its way to a 25-15 win and match victory.


Glen Brumm (Oro Valley, Ariz./Canyon Del Oro) led the offense with 12 kills. Nakita Gearhart (Waynesboro, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) added 10 kills and hit .562. Mar-Jana Phillips (Carson, Calif./Rolling Hills Prep) chipped in nine kills while hitting .444. Kelly Reynolds (Upper Saint Clair, Pa./Upper Saint Clair) put up 34 assists. Korin Koehler (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall) notched four service aces. Defensively, Katie Byrne (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) totaled 18 digs, while Reynolds added seven digs and Koehler six digs.


Juniata had a battle on its hands with Emory in the second match. The two teams traded points in the first set and neither team could establish a big run. The biggest lead came at 23-18 by Emory. JC was able to come away with a couple of points to close the gap but fell 25-21.


The second set was similar to the first at the onset. Both teams were neck and neck until Emory pulled away at 16-15 with a 6-0 run to go ahead 22-15. Juniata was unable to recover as Emory took the frame 25-17 and led 2-0 in the match.


Juniata responded in a big way in the fourth set. EU took an early lead but JC used a 10-4 run to go ahead 14-9. Its lead grew to 20-13 and an onslaught of kills from Gearhart and Suzanne Gloekler (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) gave the Eagles of Juniata a sizable lead on their way to a 25-15 set win.


JC was ahead 6-3 in the fourth set until Emory fought back to go up 14-10. Juniata countered with four straight points to tie it up at 14-14. Emory was just too much as it used an 11-5 run to close out JC and win the match.


Gearhart paced Juniata with 14 kills and also had four assisted blocks. Megan Moroney (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) tacked on 13 kills and hit .321. Byrne once again led in digs with 20. Shaina Robinett (Westchester, Pa./Leadership Charter School) added 10 digs as did Reynolds who also accumulated 44 assists.


Two significant individual milestones were reached in the Emory match. Gearhart went over 1,000 kills and Byrne reached 1,000 digs for her career.


"I think it was really good to play a match like that now," said head coach Heather Pavlik afterwards. "It probably was necessary and it was time to play someone who who is a little more physical that we are. We didn't have the best passing and serving day and it caught up with us."


The Eagles travel to Ohio next Friday to play Mount Union. Start time is at 7:00 p.m.