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Strong Defense, Efficient Offense Lead Volleyball To Victory

(Posted February 25, 2006)

Jeremy Barndt pounded out 14 kills with a .684 hitting percentage while adding a team-high seven blocks as Juniata topped visiting Rutgers-Newark.

Juniata 3, Rutgers-Newark 0

HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? The Juniata College men?s volleyball team rebounded from a pair of tough losses to Division I foes by claiming a 3-0 victory over Division I Rutgers-Newark in an EIVA Tait Division match Saturday night in Huntingdon.

The Eagles used late surges to earn close victories in games one and three topping the Scarlet Raiders 31-29, 30-24, 30-28 to improve to 6-6 overall and 2-4 in the EIVA Tait Division. Rutgers-Newark dropped to 6-9 on the season and now have a 2-3 record in Tait Division play.

Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) led all players with 16 kills to help lead an efficient Juniata offense which posted a team attack percentage of 31-29.

Juniata led virtually the entire way in game one, but had to stave off a late Rutgers-Newark rally as the visitors tied the score at 29 on a kill from Eric Honsberger. Juniata countered with a Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) kill and then an attack error from the visitors gave the game-one win to the Eagles.

Game two was tight most of the way, until the home team slowed inched away down the stretch. Leading just 25-23 Juniata got a double block from Ocasio and Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) followed by a Barndt kill to extend the advantage to 27-23. Another kill from Eric Honsberger halted the run but a kill and an ace from Ocasio sealed the 30-24 win.

The Eagles surged to an early lead in game three, before a 5-0 run from Rutgers-Newark gave the visitors a 20-19 lead. Brian and Eric Honsberger combined for a block during the run and then a Danny McGowan kill ended it, forcing a Juniata timeout. The Eagles responded by scoring the next five points, highlighted by an Ocasio ace and a double block from Zach Bock (Northeastern/Mount Wolf) and Barndt. Rutgers-Newark would pull back within a point five more times, including at 29-28 but Juniata closed the game with a triple block from Barndt, Ocasio and Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.).

Ocasio added a team-high three aces to go along with his 16 kills. Barndt finished with 14 kills and a robust .684 hitting percentage on the match while also leading the team with seven blocks. Bock passed out 45 assists for Juniata and added five blocks of his own. Steve Yeager (Hempfield/East Petersburg) led Juniata with five digs, while Withum matched Barndt?s total with seven blocks. Juniata out-blocked the visitors 16-4 in the match.

Rutgers-Newark finished with three players in double figures in kills, led by Eric Honsberger who pounded out 15. Brian Honsberger added 13 kills while McGowan chipped in 10. Mark Hulse dished out 43 assists for the Scarlet Raiders in the match. Defensively Andrew Pink posted a match-high 12 digs, while Brian Honsberger paced the team with three blocks.

Juniata returns to action Wednesday night when they host EIVA Tait Division rival Penn State.

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