Indians take big step in home loss

MIFFLINTOWN — The learning process is in progress and getting better with every match.

Despite falling to a talented St. Joseph’s Academy, the Juniata volleyball team is still showing strong progression after only a month in existence.

For all three games of their contest Monday, the Indians were able to finish in double figures and they had saved their best for last, falling 25-14, 25-12 and 25-16 at the Juniata High School gym.

“For a program that just started about a month ago, I would say we are keeping up pretty well with the established programs who have been playing for four, five and six years. We knew day one that these girls would pick it up fast. So I see a huge progression from first day of preseason, to our first game until now,” Juniata coach Samantha Liberatore said. “It’s hard to say it’s one specific person. It’s really been progression for all 46 of them. So it’s so great to see and great to coach a program like that.”

In the first game, the Wolves took the first run of the night.

Juniata opened the game with a 2-0 advantage as it picked up a side out and a service point by Susanna Ranck.

After taking back the possession, St. Joseph’s went on a scoring run of 5-0 with four of the points coming from the serve of Ruthanna McMurtrie. In the run, teammate Ana Legaspi finished with two spikes, making it 5-2

Juniata battled right back to pull within one at 5-4.

Picking up a crucial service point was Keirsten Willis. Willis would be one of the many bright spots for the Indians, showing her serving skills many times Monday.

Both teams battled back and forth with the Wolves holding to a slight advantage for much of the contest.

Trailing 10-6, the Indians got some clutch serving points from Clara McCachren as she managed to cut the deficit to two, 11-9.

However, that would be as close as the Indians would get in the first game as the St. Joseph’s combination of Emma Mallison and McMurtrie put the game out of reach, picking out four service points each to increase the lead that would eventually reach 23-12.

Willis brought her team two more points before, St. Joseph’s finished things off as 25-14 victors.

In the second game, St. Joseph broke out to a quick 4-0 advantage on three Mallison serves that had no return by Juniata.

After winning the side out back, Juniata was able to pull to within two at 5-3 with two of those points coming from Willis once again.

But once again, the Wolves would go on another scoring drive, this time with Aubrey Weiss at the serving line as she rolled off six consecutive service points to put her team up 12-3.

It would be a lead that the young Indian team could not fully recover from as Juniata fell 25-12.

In the final game, the Indians refused to go away without a fight but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win as St. Joseph’s won the game and the match with the 25-16 victory.

St. Joseph’s Academy 3, Juniata 0

Game scores: 25-14, 25-12, 25-16