Ithaca, N.Y.- The Juniata women's volleyball team suffered a pair of tough losses to two of the best teams in the country as they fell 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-17, 5-15) to #2 ranked Calvin and 3-2 (20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-27, 10-15) to #8 ranked Ithaca.
The first set saw Juniata start to pull away in the middle part of the set. Up by one at 12-11, kills from Dejia Danhi (Ashburn Va./Stone Bridge), three by Victoria Taylor (Middletown, Del./Delaware Military Academy), and another by Marie Gonsar (New Castle, Pa./Shenango H.S.) on top of a block by Danhi and Gonsar made it 20-14. The Knights came right back and tied things at 20-20. Two kills from Morgan Edwards (Lancaster, Pa./Penn Manor) and another by Gonsar gave JC a three-point advantage. Following a Calvin kill, Grace Erskine (Mooresville, N.C./Community School of Davidson) gave JC set point and following an Eagle attack error Gonsar smashed one more kill to give Juniata the first set.
The second set was tightly contested as JC went up 9-5 early, but Calvin quickly made it 10-10. Neither team led by more than three the rest of the way, with a Taylor kill pulling JC even at 20-20. The knights scored the next three points to make it 20-23 and eventually took set two 21-25.
Juniata fell behind 0-5 early and had to battle back in set three. They tied the score three different times, including a kill from Edwards that gave them their first lead at 20-19, but it was short lived. A bad set by Calvin made it 21-19, but the Knights took six of the final seven points to take set three, 22-25.
Juniata never trailed in the fourth set as they expanded their lead slowly. Calvin hung around, narrowing the Eagles' lead, forcing Juniata to call timeout. JC came out and pushed their lead back two six at 20-14 which included four Taylor kills. The Eagles cruised to a 25-17 victory to force a fifth set.
The fifth set saw Calvin race out to a 2-9 lead and never look back as they won 5-15 to take the match.
In the first set against Ithaca, the Eagles took an early 1-0 lead before the Bombers came back to tie things at 14-14. Taylor gave JC the lead back at 17-16, but the Bombers took the next six points to make it 17-22. An attack error by Ithaca and a kill from Taylor brought Juniata within three, but Ithaca closed out set one to win 20-25.
Set two had a similar start, as Juniata took an early lead and Ithaca started to claw black. The Eagles managed to keep their advantage, with a block by Danhi and Taylor making it 20-17. The Bombers took five of the next six to take a 21-22 lead. Two Gonsar kills sandwiched around an Eagle attack error were followed back to back aces from Gingrich to give JC an 25-24 edge. A Bomber attack error sealed set two for the Eagles.
The third set was a tightly contested affair that saw the teams tie five teams early as neither team managed to take more than a three-point lead until the end. With the score at 21-19, an Edwards kill and an Ithaca attack error pushed the lead to four. A service error narrowed the lead to three, but a kill from Edwards followed by a kill from Genevieve Wittrock (Collegeville, Pa./Merion Mercy Academy) gave Juniata the fourth set, 25-20.
Juniata staked themselves a 10-6 lead as they tried to put Ithaca away early. The Bombers hung around as they kept narrowing the gap to one but Juniata wouldn't relent. Later, an attack error by the Bombers followed by a Taylor killed pushed the lead to four at 19-15 and forced IC into a timeout. Ithaca came out of the time out and eventually tied things up at 21-21. An Ithaca service error, a killed by Danhi and a kill from Edwards gave JC match point. Ithaca wouldn't give up as they took five of the next six points to take the set and force a decisive fifth set.
The Eagles took a 2-0 lead, the Bombers scored the next two before an Edwards kill made it 3-2. The Bombers took the next five points as Juniata fell behind. A service error by Ithaca followed by a Gonsar kill pulled the Eagles within two but the Bombers took the next few points. With the score at 7-10, Folan tallied a kill and followed with a block to pull the Eagles back at 9-11. Juniata got no closer as Ithaca took set five and that match, 10-15.
The Eagles will host their yearly ASICS Invitational, starting next Friday against Christopher Newport at 7:00.