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Eagle Men Fall In Five To Division I Foe

(Posted January 29, 2005)

Nate Ocasio pounded out a career-high 24 kills, while adding three blocks and a dig in Juniata\'s five-game battle with Rutgers-Newark.

Rutgers-Newark 3, Juniata 2

Huntingdon, Pa. รข?? For the third time in as many seasons the Juniata College men's volleyball team had its match against EIVA Tait Division foe Rutgers-Newark went to five games in Huntingdon. And for the third time in as many seasons the Eagles were unable to pull out the victory as the Blue and Gold fell to Rutgers-Newark by a 3-2 score. Juniata is now 2-3 on the year and 0-1 in Tait play, while the Scarlet Raiders are now 2-2 on the year and 1-1 in the Tait Division.

The match could not have been much closer with three of the four games decided by just two points. Along with the last three five-game matches in Huntingdon, Rutgers-Newark defeated Juniata in five games last season in the EIVA Tournament Semifinals. This time the Juniata fell after earning 30-28 wins in games one and two, but dropping games two, four and five by scores of 31-29, 30-24 and 15-13.

Juniata held a late lead in the decisive fifth game after Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) knocked out his career-high 24th kill to put Juniata in front 10-9. Rutgers then scored the next two points, the last on a block from Graydon Ainsworth. Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) pounded out two late kills to tie the match at 12, but a pair of late attack errors gave the final game to the visitors.

All five games were hotly contested as neither team held a lead of more than three points in four of the five games. In game one, Nick Bernardo (Christopher Dock/Lansdale) and Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) each had two late kills to hold off a Scarlet Raiders. Game two saw Brian and Eric Honsberger lead the visitor offense late, with Eric Honsberger finishing the game with a kill.

In game three, Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and DeHaven combined for a late block to give the Eagles a three-point lead. Andrew Pink brought the visitors back with three kills, but DeHaven answered with a kill to secure the win. Game four was the most lopsided affair, as the Scarlet Raiders jumped out an early 7-2 lead and never looked back.

Along with Ocasio's 24 kills, DeHaven added a career-best 23 for Juniata. Bernardo and Withum added 13 and 11 kills respectively for the Eagles. Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) passed out 63 assists for Juniata, while Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) paced Juniata with 15 digs. DeHaven and Bernardo both finished with 11 digs, and Barndt finished with a team-high five blocks.

Eric Honsberger led five players in double figures with 19 kills for the Scarlet Raiders. Brian Honsberger added 16 kills with a game-high 10 blocks. Pink added 15 finishes and a team-best 13 digs, while Henry Richardson chipped in 12 kills. Ainsworth finished with 59 assists and helped Rutgers-Newark to a .325 attack percentage.

Juniata will be back in action next Friday night when the Eagles host Division I Ohio State.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.