NEWARK, N.J. -- Juniata opened its 2014 season with two wins at The Golden Dome Invitational on Thursday afternoon. Juniata routed New Jersey City 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-12) before defeating host Rutgers-Newark 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 25-21, 25-18). Junior Paul Kuhn earned a match- and career-high 20 kills against Rutgers-Newark in his first match of the year.
"New Jersey City was a good match to open the season," Juniata's fourth-year head coach Kevin Moore said. "We were able to get significant contributions from a lot of guys. Got a little bit from all four freshmen in that match."
Sophomore Matthew Kinnebrew led the Eagles in the win against New Jersey City. Kinnebrew, an outside hitter, pounded down a match-high 11 kills on 19 swings with only two errors for a .474 average. He also chipped in three service aces, one off his career best, and assisted on two blocks. Fellow sophomores Ryan Shelton and Carlos Faccio split time at setter in the win. Shelton finished with a match- and career-high 19 assists and Faccio earned 11, respectively. Shelton also had a match- and career-high seven digs.
While Juniata cruised to its win against New Jersey City in about an hour, the Eagles had to battle against Rutgers-Newark. After winning the first game and dropping the second, they fought through four ties and two lead changes to take game three.
"Paul was the guy who was able to steady us out when we got into tough situations," Moore said. "He was able to help us go on a few runs. We were able to get the middle going a little bit more against Rutgers. And our back row was really affective. We had a pretty balanced and diverse offense."
Sophomore Matt Elias took over running the Eagles offense against Rutgers-Newark and finished with a match-high 43 assists. Kuhn added a match-high three aces to his point total and sophomore Chad Albert had a big day at the net. He picked up a match and career-high seven blocks in the win.