HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Susquehanna used a 3-0 semifinal sweep of Catholic to advance to the Landmark Conference volleyball championship match, but ultimately could not overcome the fourth-ranked Juniata Eagles, falling 3-0 in the title match on Saturday night.
The Crusaders finished their 2010 season with an impressive 25-12 overall mark and ended the year by winning five of their final six matches.
SU defeated Catholic in straight sets, 25-20, 25-21, 27-25, to earn its place in the championship match. Juniata knocked off Moravian in the first semifinal of the day.
The Eagles then defeated Susquehanna in straight sets, 25-11, 25-10, 25-7.
Against Catholic, Lindsey Jankiewicz (Easton, Pa./Freedom) led all players with 16 kills while also chipping in six digs. Joining her in double figures in kills was Kaylee Monga (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Knolls), who had 10.
Three SU players tallied double-digit kill totals as Kelly O’Brien (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor) led the team with 16. Emily Carson (Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) and Shona St. Angelo (Manorville, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor) had 15 apiece. St. Angelo was the lone player to record a double-double as she added 26 assists to go along with those 15 digs.
In the championship match, the only SU player to reach double figures in any category was O’Brien, who had 12 digs. Jankiewicz’s five kills led the team.
The Crusaders fell into an early, 7-2 hole against the Eagles. A Juniata service ace made it 10-3 and head coach Kuuipo Tom called the match’s first timeout. Susquehanna scored three of the next four points following that timeout to make it a six-point set (12-6), but that marked the closest the Crusaders would get.
Juniata built a double-digit lead (17-10) midway through the set and held a 24-10 edge with the set point on the line. Carson came up with a kill to keep the action going, but the Crusaders dropped the set on the next point, a Juniata kill, for the 25-11 final score.
In the second set, Susquehanna captured the first point on a M.C. Llareus (Edgewater, Md./South River) kill, but a 4-0 Eagles run made it 4-1.
Jankiewicz ended a long rally with a solid kill to pull SU back within one (4-3). Several more well-placed Jankiewicz kills kept it a four-point contest (9-5) and Dana Kreutzer (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central Regional) came up with a clutch kill to cut Juniata’s lead back down to three (10-7).
An attacking error against the Eagles proceeded to make it a 10-8 score but they responded with a 12-1 run that put SU into double-digit hole (22-9) and essentially clinched the win. Susquehanna ultimately lost the set 25-10 on an attack error.
Entering the critical third set, the Crusaders found themselves within one (4-3) in the early going. Another Eagles miscue, this time a net violation, knotted it at four-all.
Juniata regained the lead but back-to-back kills by Jankiewicz kept it a five-point set (11-6).
Midway through the action, the Eagles maintained a 13-7 advantage and took a double-digit lead (17-7) with time running out for Susquehanna to mount a comeback. The Crusaders did not put another point on the board and Juniata clinched the championship by a final score of 25-7.