NEWPORT NEWS, Va. --- The Virginia Wesleyan University volleyball team fell in a heartbreaker to No. 22 Juniata, 3-2 (17-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-13, 15-9), Friday afternoon in the NCAA Championship Regional Round played at Christopher Newport University. With the result, the Marlins finish the year with a record of 28-8 which sets the program record for wins in a season.
The Marlins got off to strong start, going up 12-4 on Juniata before the Eagles had to take a timeout. The timeout had no effect on the Marlins though as the team cruised to an opening set victory. Set two saw the Eagles offense get back on track as the team exchanged points over the first couple exchanges. A small run put Juniataout front and the Marlins weren't able to recover.
With the set score tied, the two sides continued to play evenly. With set point in the Marlins hands, Sydney Collinsand Lauren Topper combined for a big block to secure the set win. Juniata battled back again though cruising to a set four victory of 25-13. In the fifthand final set, both teams exchanged points over the first eight rallies. The Eagles pulled away though, handing the Marlins a lost in their first NCAA appearance.
Despite the loss, the Marlins found some pretty strong offense including a 16 kill performance by Amber Matalus. Also hitting the double-digit kill mark was Lauren Topper with 10 and not far behind her was Greta Coss with nine. Assisting the offense was Meghan Wood who accrued 24 helpers.
Defensively, Alyssa Taylor was all over the back line as she finished with 24 digs.