NCAA DIII Volleyball Semi-Finals at Juniata
A two days before we left I discovered that Tania was under the impression that we were heading to ‘Juanita’ college. “You know, like Juan.”
After we agreed on our destination we then decided to meet in the morning to take advantage of utilizing the day efficiently.
Tania and I met around 8pm (8:45 girlfriend standard time) and took her parent’s car towards Huntingdon, PA. We went over the George Washington Bridge and then made our way to the I-78 highway. We planned ahead and decided to stop somewhere midway for lunch.
There was a good brunch spot (Top That) in Palmyra, PA. The waitresses were very polite and the food was server very quickly. We both ordered burgers with fries. I had their western burger which was stuffed with spicy jalapeno, bacon, cheese and a big fat burger. The burger was just mouth-watering. I was tempted to purchase a second one but managed to restrain my temptations.
We left Top That around 1pm. This gave us 3 hours to get to Juniata College which was 2 hours a way. The road there was very pretty (especially once we passed Harrisburg). The sun was shinning through the patches of clouds in the sky. We saw several trains, rivers and even occasional tractors occupy the roads. We arrived in Huntingdon after about 2 hours. We found parking and quickly purchased tickets to both semi-final matches.
Once we entered the gym I felt a great rush of excitement. We were about to watch Carthage take on Springfield (2 time national champs). After watching Carthage beat Kean in the quarterfinals I felt they were ready to take the #1 seed. Unfortunately my analysis was incorrect. Springfield beat Carthage in 3 sets. Carthage was leading on several occasions but didn’t have what it took to seal the deal against Springfield. The commentator was announcing that Carthage was probably the best suited to take down Springfield since they had beaten them previously in the season. Once Springfield won the match I was certain they would win the entire tournament. This was until I saw Juniata play.
We were all kicked out of the gym so that they can prepare for the second match. Tania decided that we should go back to the car so that she can take a power nap. So to the car we went. She napped for about 30 minutes or so and we then went back in to watch the 2nd game which started at 630pm.
Juniata (#3) was playing New Paltz (#2). I was surprised to see that Juniata had a huge fan section. During warm-ups New Paltz looked solid. They probably intimidated Juniata a bit since they won the first set, but they must have lost confidence in the next two with all the cheering coming from Juniata’s bleachers. Both teams in the 4th set were neck and neck. I honestly did not know who was going to win (this made the game exciting). With the momentum of winning the previous 2 sets, the crowd cheering “we want Springfield”, and a little bit of luck Juniata was able to seal the win.
We quickly made our way back to the car in hopes of escaping a jammed parking lot. The drive back seemed longer than the drive there. Luckily we were not as tired as we were last year. We stopped to buy gas and grab a bite at a diner (the burger was nothing close to what we had from earlier in the day). We were back home at 230am.