WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Juniata College women's volleyball team fell to Wittenberg University, 3-1, in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon.
Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor) led the Eagles with 12 kills and five block assists, Megan Moroney (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) tallied 11 kills, one solo block, and five block assists, and Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del./Delaware Military Academy) notched 10 kills while Marybeth Weihbrecht (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) had eight.. Alyssa Tavera (Whittier, Calif./Saint Francis) had 22 assists. Katie Byrne (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) logged 13 digs and one service ace, while Tatum Poirier (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley HS) recorded eight digs and had three service aces.
The Tigers took an early lead in the first set, and the Eagles were unable to get closer than three, ultimately falling 25-10.
Juniata came back aggressively in set number two, forcing Wittenberg into a timeout after taking four straight points to gain a 5-4 advantage. The Eagles did not relent, taking the score from 8-8 to 12-8 after kills from Poirier and Moroney and a service ace from Korin Koehler (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall). Juniata continued to dominate the set as Poirier had a kill and two aces to create a seven-point gap at 18-11. Three kills from Taylor gave the Eagles the set, 25-13.
With the two teams knotted up at 1-1, both came out swinging in set three. Wittenberg held the early advantage 1-3, but kills from Taylor and Moroney tied the teams at 3-3. The Tigers took the next three points, and the Eagles could not seem to close the gap. Wittenberg forced a Juniata timeout at 8-13, and the revitalized Eagles scored three straight to make the score 11-13 after two kills from Edwards and an ace from Poirier. Kills from Weihbrecht and Poirier got Juniata within two at 18-20 and two more kills notched by Edwards and Weihbrecht had the team at 20-21, forcing Wittenberg to take a timeout. The Eagles were unable to complete the comeback, ultimately dropping the set 25-23.
The fourth set was tightly contested throughout, however, Juniata was unable to ever get out in front of the Tigers. Behind at 3-8, the Eagles took a timeout and continued to battle back hard, chipping away at the deficit to close in at 11-12 after a block from Moroney. The Eagles were unable to come closer than two from that point forward. Kills from Moroney and Taylor kept Juniata in the set at 20-22, but two points for the Tigers and a Juniata service error gave Wittenberg match point. Another kill for the Tigers punched their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen at 25-21.
Juniata concludes their 2017 season with a record of 24-9.