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Juniata Places Five Athletes On EIVA Division III All-Star Team

(Posted April 6, 2005)

Senior setter Ricky Ziegler was named to the EIVA Division III All-Star First Team for the second time in his career. He was one of five Eagles named to the Division III conference team.

Huntingdon, PA - In the midst of a season in which it has held the top spot in the CSTV/American Volleyball Coaches Association Top-15 poll all season, the Juniata College men's volleyball team placed five players on the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Division III All-Star Team. The Eagles captured four of the seven first-team spots as senior setter Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester), junior middle Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood), sophomore opposite Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) and sophomore middle Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) all captured first-team recognition. Junior libero Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) captured second-team recognition to give the Eagles five honorees, which is the second-highest total Juniata has ever had on the EIVA Division III All-Star Team.

Ziegler earns a spot on the first team for the second time in his career. The senior setter helped direct an efficient Juniata offense as he passed out 959 assists and helped Juniata to a .329 team attack percentage through the team's first 22 matches. His 13.51 assists per game is the top average in the EIVA which includes Division I and II teams. This season he moved into fourth place in Juniata history in career assists as he has totaled 2,964 for his career. The senior also leads Juniata with 32 serve aces, and is third on the team in both digs and blocks. Ziegler was named the AVCA/Sports Imports Division III national player of the week once during the 2005 season.

Cole makes his second appearance on the EIVA Division III team after claiming second-team honors as a sophomore as well. Juniata's starting libero leads the team in digs with 142 on the season. His 2.58 digs per game total are the highest he has had in a season and ranks fifth in the EIVA. Six times during this season he registered at least 10 digs in a match, including a career-high 28 in a five-game contest at Division I IPFW. Five of his double-digit dig efforts have come against Division I opponents. As one of Juniata's primary passers, Cole's solid passing has contributed to Juniata's efficient .329 team attack percentage.

Withum earns the first postseason honor of his career with the selection. The junior has become a primary offensive weapon for the Blue and Gold, and has been one of the most effective attackers in Division III. He leads both Division III and is second in the EIVA with his .500 hitting percentage. He ranks third on the team with 189 kills and is averaging 2.66 kills per game. He is also tied for the team lead with 66 blocks and posted a season-high six blocks in a win over Division III rival Springfield. Withum recorded a season-best 16 kills twice during the year, and had an attack percentage of .444 or better in 16 of the 21 matches in which he appeared. He captured Division III national player of the week honors on once occasion in 2005.

Ocasio also earns the first postseason recognition of his career as he became a regular in the Eagle starting lineup this season. He leads Juniata in kills with 226, and kills per game with 3.42. His career, and season-best total of 21 kills came in a five-game match against Division I Rutgers-Newark, and was one of 11 times that he reached double figures in kills. He has ended the season particularly strong as he surpassed 10 kills in each of his past four matches. His defense has also been a big plus for the Eagles as he ranks third on the team with 70 digs while adding 34 blocks. Ocasio also ranks second among Juniata players with 15 aces.

Barndt has also become a regular starter in his sophomore season, and earns his first postseason honor. The sophomore ranks second on the team with 196 kills while attacking at a .426 clip. His .426 hitting percentage ranks fourth in Division III and fifth in the EIVA. He established a new career best with 17 kills in a four-game win over Springfield while he registered a .583 attack percentage in the match. He has reached double figures in kills in each of his last five matches, giving him 10 double digit kill performances on the season. Barndt is also tied for the team lead with 66 blocks, and matched his career-high of seven blocks in three separate matches in 2005.

Juniata finished the regular season with a record of 15-7 and an 8-4 mark in the EIVA Tait Division. The Eagles are insured of at least a third-place finish in the Tait Division standings, and depending on results from other teams could finish second in the division for the first time in the program's history. Juniata will begin its defense of the EIVA Division III Championship on Friday when it takes on Vassar College in a semifinal match in Huntingdon.

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