Juniata 3, Washington U. 0Â

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ROCHESTER, Minn. Washington (Mo.) University was the defending national champion.

Juniata was the nation's top-ranked team. Something had to give Saturday evening as the two squared off in the NCAA Division III National Volleyball Championships title game at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center Auditorium.

It did.

Juniata, led by the 17-kill performance from sophomore All-American Stephanie Kines, dethroned the Bears as national champions, capturing the school's first ever NCAA volleyball title with a 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-28) victory.

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Juniata claimed the 2004 National Title. (Ed Hruska)ÂÂ

While the score may say otherwise, nothing came easy in the Eagles' 3-0 win. Juniata outlasted WU in the opening game, holding its biggest lead, 20-17, only to have the Bears tie the game four more times, the last at 27-27, before the Eagles scored three straight points the final on an ace by Katie Laucks.

It was more of the same in Game 2, as Juniata never trailed, and held a commanding 29-23 advantage only to have WU make a four-point run to cut the gap to two, 29-27. A service error by WU, however, the game's final point, a 2-0 advantage and all the momentum.

The Eagles completed the sweep their second vs. Washington U. this season by scoring five of the game's final eight points for the 30-28 win.

-- Courtesy St. Mary's U.