HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata women's volleyball rallied from 2-0 to defeat Division II Clarion, 3-2 (16-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 17-15), Tuesday evening at Memorial Gymnasium.
Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del./Cape Henlopen HS) tallied a season-high 20 kills while hitting .447. Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor) tallied 14 kills and added five digs. Katie Thomas (Batesville, Ind./Batesville) notched 44 assists, 23 digs and five service aces.
The first set was tightly contested throughout, and a Marybeth Weihbrecht (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) kill brought the score within one at 15-16. The Golden Eagles rattled nine of the next 10 points to win the first set. The second was even tenser, with Juniata narrowing the gap to 22-21 before Clarion scored the final three points and put the Eagles on the precipice of being swept.
The third set opened similarly to the first two as neither team could gain an edge early. Weihbrecht smashed three straight kills to put Juniata ahead 15-11 and create some separation. The Eagles closed on a 10-4 run, with Megan Moroney (Mentor, Ohio/Ohio) clinching the set to keep Juniata alive. Juniata notched 16 kills and hit .500 for the set
The fourth set saw Clarion come out rolling, as they scored the first five points as Juniata called timeout. Edwards put Juniata on the board, but Clarion scored two more to go up 7-1. Errors from the Golden Eagles and two Taylor kills sparked a Juniata run that saw them pulled ahead at 8-7. The teams battled back and forth before Edwards put down back to back kills and Moroney followed with open of her own to stake Juniata to a 16-13 lead. Clarion pulled within on at 19-18, but Edwards got a kill followed by two from Taylor as Juniata went up 23-18. The teams traded points before Tatum Poirier (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley HS) absolutely crushed a ball to force a decisive fifth set.
Clarion took the first point via attack error on Juniata before Taylor put down three straight kills and a Golden Eagle error pushed Juniata out to a 4-1 lead. Clarion quickly mounted a comeback, and the teams traded points from there as neither could gain any separation. Trailing 10-12, Taylor dropped her 20th kill of the night and a Clarion attack error knotted the score at 12-12. The teams exchanged points, with a Weihbrecht kill making it 14-14 and a Golden Eagle attack error giving Juniata a 15-14 lead. Taylor Braunagel tied things at 15-15 for the Golden Eagles, but Clarion committed two attack errors as Juniata won 17-15.
After the match, head coach Heather Pavlik talked about what went well for the Eagles to help them make the comeback. "We went from 6-2 to a 5-1, which helped the offense flow more. Korin Koehler (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall) and Sophia Gingrich (Minneapolis, Minn./Minneapolis South West) doing some passing helped with ball control and digging some more balls. Victoria had a stellar night. She and Morgan were both really good on the pins tonight. Tatum Poirier gave us strong play off the bench as well. It was a good win overall for us, we needed it."
The win moves Juniata to 13-4 on the year and they will host Randolph Macon, Friday at 6:00.