Oct. 29, 2010

Courtesy of Juniata Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Juniata College couldn't sustain a marvelous hitting performance in the first set, eventually dropping a 3-1 decision to third-ranked Wittenberg University on Friday night at the Pam Evans Smith Arena.

Set scores for Wittenberg were 16-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-9.

Fourth-ranked Juniata (26-5) hit .324 in the first set, putting away 13 kills on 34 swings with only two errors on its way to the win.

The Eagles built on a 10-9 lead, scoring seven of the next eight points including three straight off the serve of freshman outside hitter Amy Miller (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch). Miller added an ace during the run, with senior middle Kristin Noetzel (Closter, N.J./Northern Valley Regional), junior outside hitter Drew Barnhart (Titusville, Pa./Titusville), and sophomore opposite Kelsey Fuller (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) each adding a kill.

Juniata remained at least six points in front of Witt over the remainder of the first set, before back-to-back kills by Miller finished off the set in the Eagles' favor.

Wittenberg (26-2) led virtually wire-to-wire in set two, with Juniata pulling even on a couple of occasions before the Tigers regained the lead. The Eagles grabbed an early lead in the third set, thanks to a pair of kills by Noetzel and Barnhart. However Wittenberg caught Juniata at 9-9 on a kill by the Tigers' Kimmie Dyer, and after a Juniata rally to take an 11-9 lead Witt again pulled even with the Eagles at 13-13.

The Tigers pulled away from there to take set three, hitting .341 while holding Juniata to a .174 attack percentage.

Wittenberg dominated set four, hitting .400 while Juniata finished with a -.034 attack clip.

Barnhart paced the Eagles offensively with 14 kills on 53 swings for a .132 hitting percentage. Noetzel finished with nine kills and three blocks, while junior middle Amanda Schmidt (Boswell, Pa./North Star) tallied seven kills on 15 swings and hit .400 for the match.

Senior setter Steph Strauss (Verona, Pa./Penn Hills) logged 27 kills while running a Juniata offense that hit .143 for the match. Junior libero Libby Morrison (Portland, Ore./Oregon Episcopal School) turned up 22 digs, while Fuller and Miller sprawled for 17 and 18 digs respectively.

Wittenberg's Dyer and Katie Sumner each had 13 kills for the Tigers, who hit .216 versus the Eagles. Christine Simpson tacked on nine kills.

Juniata closes out its 2010 regular season on Saturday at the Wittenberg Fall Classic, facing Carnegie Mellon University and College of Mount St. Joseph.