The Case Western Reserve University volleyball team saw its 2015 season come to an end on Saturday night with a 3-0 loss to third-ranked Juniata College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championships in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
The loss completed a historic season for the Spartan program, which qualified for the NCAA Championships for just the second time ever, and claimed its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory on Friday night. Case Western Reserve finished the year with a 25-8 record, the most wins by the team since the 2000 campaign and the second-most ever by a Spartan volleyball squad.
The Spartans saw an early lead in the first set balloon to 9-5 on a kill by senior Dani Witri, but Juniata battled back to tie the match at 9-9. However, after the Spartans scored the next point to take a 10-9 lead, Juniata took control of the set, scoring the next 12 points to take a 21-10 advantage, before closing out the first game by a final mark of 25-12.
The second set started similarly, with CWRU jumping out a 7-5 lead, but a five-point pushed the Eagles past the Spartans for good in the set, en route to a 25-14 win.
In the third set, the Spartans fell behind early 5-1, but were able to hang tight for the majority of the set, keeping within six points of the Eagles. However, a late rally secured the victory in the set, 25-17, and secured the match victory for Juniata.
Senior Carolyn Bogart led the team with 12 digs, while senior Katie Best added 11. Freshman Shannon Carroll finished the match with 14 assists.
Saturday's game also marked the final contest in the careers of the Spartans' five graduating seniors – Best, Bogart, Haley Kauffman, Robyn Marks and Witri, all of which played a key role in the Spartans success in 2015.
Juniata, which improved to 33-2 overall, will advance to the Huntingdon Regional Championship on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.