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Juniata Places Five Players On Division III All-America Team

(Posted April 11, 2005)

Senior Ricky Ziegler was one of five Juniata volleyball players named to the AVCA Division III All-America Team.

Huntingdon, PA - The postseason honors continue to pile up for the Juniata College men's volleyball team as the Eagles placed five players on the 2005 Division III American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Team. The Eagles had four first-team honorees 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 was the most of any team in Division III. The AVCA Division III Player of the Year will be announced April 14 at the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship.

Ziegler claims first-team All-America honors for the second time in his career. The Eagles senior captain has directed Juniata to one of the most efficient offenses in the country. He leads the EIVA with 13.42 assists per game, and has passed out 1,047 assists on the season, while helping Juniata hit .340 as a team on the year. He leads the team with 35 serve aces, and is third in blocks and fourth in digs. He was named the most valuable player of the EIVA Division III Tournament, and also captured First-Team EIVA Division III All-Star recognition. He also captured AVCA/Sports Imports Division III National Player of the Week honors on two occasions during the season.

Withum captures All-America recognition for the first time in his career. The junior middle hitter has put up remarkable offensive numbers as he has recorded a .503 hitting percentage on the season. He has led Division III in hitting percentage for most of the season, and has also been near the top of the EIVA standings in that category. He has pounded out 204 kills on the season, which ranks third on the team, and helped him earn First-Team EIVA Division III All-Star honors. Even more impressive in Juniata's 15 matches against Division I opponents, Withum averaged 2.88 kills per game with a stellar .511 hitting percentage. He also ranks second on the Eagles with 72 blocks on the season.

Sophomore opposite Nate Ocasio also earns the first All-America accolades of his career. He has emerged as one of Juniata's top offensive weapons in his first season as a starter, as he leads the team in kills and kills per game. He knocked out 253 kills through Juniata's first 24 games and averaged 3.47 finishes per game. He was selected to the EIVA Division III All-Tournament Team after recording 27 kills with a .391 hitting percentage during the two-match tournament. His 20 kills in the championship match win over New York marked the 12th time he reached double figures in kills, and the third match in which he posted 20 finishes. He is also second on the Eagle team with 15 serve aces, and is third on the squad with 80 digs.

Barndt earns his first All-America honors in his first season as a regular starter. The sophomore middle hitter ranks second on the team in both kills and hitting percentage. He has finished 210 attack chances on the season while committing just 51 attack errors, which contributed to a .437 attack percentage. Barndt earned both First-Team EIVA Division III All-Star honors, and earned a spot on the EIVA Division III All-Tournament Team this season. He also leads the Juniata team with 75 blocks, and is averaging just shy of a block per game. On 10 occasions he posted double digit kill performances, and had at least five blocks on seven occasions.

Cole is the only other repeat All-American from Juniata this season as he earned second-team honors for the second-consecutive year. He leads the Juniata defense with 165 digs on the season, good for an average of 2.66 digs per game, which ranks among the EIVA leaders. Seven times during the season he brought up at least 10 digs, including a career-best 27 in a five-game match against Division I IPFW. One of the team's co-captains Cole worked as one of Juniata's primary passer on the season, and helped the team to its efficient offensive attack. He has notched 575 successful pass attempts on the season, with just 19 reception errors.

Juniata boasts a record of 17-7 on the season, and has held the top position in the AVCA/CSTV Division III Top-15 poll throughout the season. Juniata claimed its third consecutive EIVA Division III Tournament Championship this past weekend, and will be looking for its third Molten Division III Invitational Championship this coming weekend. Juniata will begin its defense of its Molten Title on April 15 with a match against Medaille College.

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