HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata women's volleyball team narrowly defeated Randolph Macon, 3-2, Friday evening at Memorial Gymnasium to kickoff Homcoming Weekend.
Marybeth Weihbrecht (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) notched 15 kills, two solo blocks and a block assist while Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor) had 13 kills, a solo block and three block assists. Marie Gonsar (New Castle, Pa./Shenango HS) had 12 kills, 12 digs and two solo blocks, and Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del./Delaware Military Academy) added 10 kills, two solo blocks and a block assist. Katie Thomas (Batesville, Ind./Batesville) racked up 49 assists, 13 digs and two aces while Katie Byrne (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) had a game-high 33 digs.
The first set had six ties as neither team could create separation. With the score tied at 23-23, the Yellow Jackets took the final two points of the set to escape with a win. Weihbrecht had five kills in the set.
The second set saw R-MC jump out to an early lead and following a Juniata error, push their lead to 11-7. Kills from Gonsar and Edwards along with some Yellow Jacket attack errors allowed the Eagles to pull ahead at 13-11. Juniata could not pull away, and after another R-MC kill Juniata called timeout up 19-17. Kills from Weihbrecht and Gonsar bookended two Yellow Jacket attack errors and a Korin Koehler (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall) ace which gave Juniata set point. R-MC scored the next two points before Weihbrecht ended it to give Juniata the set at 25-20 and tie it up at 1-1.
Randolph-Macon came out strong early in the third set and maintained a narrow lead through most of the set. Juniata managed to tie things up at 16-16 and 17-17 but the Yellow Jackets put down another kill to go up 17-18. A R-MC service error paired with kills from Dejia Danhi (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge), and Edwards put the Eagles up 20-18 and forced a Yellow Jacket timeout. Following the timeout, Taylor and Edwards each got a kill to make it 22-18. R-MC got managed to get the next point to make it 22-19 and the Eagles called timeout. Edwards, Gonsar and Danhi tallied a kill each to end the set at 25-19.
The fourth set saw Juniata lead by as much as five at 14-9 as they tried to put the Yellow Jackets away, but R-MC battled back to tie it up at 15-15. The Yellow-Jackets led the rest of the way, with a Gonsar kill pulling Juniata within two at 19-21, but R-MC scored the next three points to force set point 20-24. Kills from Gonsar and Taylor kept the set alive, but an Eagle error ended the set at 25-22 and set up the final set.
The teams traded points early, and R-MC led 6-5 early. Tatum Poirier (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley HS) smashed two kills and a R-MC ball-handling error made it 8-6 Juniata. The Yellow Jackets scored the following point before Taylor walloped a crosscourt kill and a R-MC attack error made it 10-7 Eagles. Juniata was called for a bad set, but that was the final point the Yellow Jackets would score. Poirier followed with a kill and R-MC called timeout to try and stem the run, but to no avail. Taylor put down a kill, the Yellow Jackets committed an attacking error and K. Thomas dropped an ace in the middle of the R-MC defense to force match point. Danhi and Taylor blocked an R-MC attack to clinch the victory for the Eagles.
Juniata travels to Stevenson for a Tri-Match where they will first face Washington and Lee. Match time is 2:00.