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Volleyball To Challenge George Mason In EIVA Semifinal On Thursday

(Posted April 26, 2005)

Cordt Withum had a season-high 16 kills with a .600 hitting percentage and added four blocks in the second meeting between Juniata and George Mason this season.

Huntingdon, PA - The Juniata College men's volleyball team will play just the third EIVA Semifinal match in the program's history when the Eagles take on George Mason at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Rec. Hall on the campus of Penn State. The winner of the match will earn a berth in the EIVA Championship match to take on the winner of the semifinal between Penn State and Rutgers-Newark which will take place at 8 p.m. The Championship match will be played at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, and will be broadcast live on College Sports Television. Admission for the matches is $4 for adults and $2 for children and seniors. Groups of 10 or more can enter for $1 per person. The Eagles will be looking to advance to the Championship Match of the EIVA Tournament for the first time in the program's history.

Juniata enters the semifinal as the third seed in the EIVA Tournament, and with a record of 20-7. George Mason is the tournament second-seed and holds a record of 18-9. The teams split their two regular-season meetings as Juniata rallied to win the final two games for a 3-2 win in Huntingdon, while the Eagles dropped a 3-1 decision at George Mason. Five of the nine games played between the two teams this season were decided by three points or less.

Juniata reached the EIVA semifinal last season as the third seed, and extended second-seed Rutgers-Newark to five games before falling in five. Juniata's other semifinal berth came in 1999 when the Eagles dropped a 3-0 decision to Penn State. This season also marks the third season in which Juniata has posted 20 wins in a season. After starting the season 4-6, the Eagles have won 16 of their last 17 matches to reach the 20-win plateau.

Reigning Division III Player of the Year Rick Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) leads the Eagles attack as he passed out 13.26 assists per game on the year, which leads the EIVA. Ziegler was named a first-team All-EIVA selection for the second-consecutive season earlier this week. He is also tops on the Juniata team in serve aces with 38 and also ranks third in blocks and fourth in digs. Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) was also a first-team All-EIVA choice and leads Juniata with a .497 hitting percentage which ranks first in Division III. He has 225 kills on the year and is second on the team in blocks. Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) nabbed second-team All-EIVA recognition as he ranks second on the team in kills (240) and hitting percentage (.449) while leading the squad with 87 blocks. Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) has been the top attacker for Juniata on the season as he leads the team in kills with 304 and kills per game (3.62). He is also second with 20 aces and has 94 digs which is third on the team. Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) ranks first on the team with 190 digs in 2005.

Juniata has already claimed the Molten Division III Men's National Invitational and EIVA Division III Championships in 2005. Live stats from the EIVA Semifinal match will be available by clicking on the gametracker link on the Penn State athletics website at http://www.gopsusports.com/VolleyballM/home.cfm.

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