Eagles Fend off Tomcats 3-1

Mahlon Bender finished with 10 kills, seven assisted blocks, and hit .444.
Mahlon Bender finished with 10 kills, seven assisted blocks, and hit .444.

HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata men's volleyball team found themselves in a battle with Continental Volleyball Conference rival with Thiel on Tuesday night at Memorial Gymnasium. The Tomcats took the first set but the Eagles came back to win the next three and claimed a 3-1 victory.


The win, the Eagles' sixth in row, moves them to 10-4 overall and 5-0 in the CVC. Thiel is 3-7 overall and 1-4 in the CVC.


The Tomcats led 13-10 in the first set but the Eagles recovered to put up five straight points and go up 15-13. Thiel responded with a 9-5 run to go ahead 22-20. JC got ahead 23-22 but Thiel ended the set with three straight kills to win 25-23 and lead the match.


Thiel looked to carry its momentum into the second set. Juniata went up 5-2 but saw its lead disappear as the Tomcats rallied to go ahead 9-8. A 6-1 Eagle run gave JC some breathing room and a 10-4 run put the score at 24-14. Thiel tried to rally with three straight points but the threat ended on a Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) kill to give Juniata a 25-17 win and even the match at 1-1.


The Eagles got out to a 10-4 lead in third frame. Thiel kept it close at 18-15 JC but the Eagles expanded that lead to 23-15 and was able to win 25-17 to go ahead 2-1.


Juniata led 5-3 in the fourth but the teams would trade points and neither could gather a substantial run. The score was knotted at 18-18 and the Eagles finally put together a 7-3 run to distance themselves and eventually won 25-21 to claim the match.


Defense played a big role for Juniata as it accumulated 24 assisted blocks. Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) had seven of those to go along with 10 kills and a .444 hitting percentage. Seeley led the offense with 15 kills on 21 swings for a .571 hitting percentage. He had five assisted blocks. Michael Young (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake Village) finished with 35 assists and three assisted blocks. Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, Pa./Derry Area) tallied seven kills, four digs, and four assisted blocks. Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge) matched Seeley with five assisted blocks and put down six kills and three digs. Chris Heron's (Las Vegas, Nev./Arbor View) 11 digs led the team.


Juniata returns to Memorial Gym on Friday night to host Stevenson. Match time will be at 7:00 p.m.