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Princeton Holds Off Volleyball

(Posted March 18, 2006)

Nate Ocasio pounded out 22 kills and led the team with 12 digs in an EIVA Tait match against Princeton.

Princeton 3, Juniata 2

PRINCETON, N.J. ? The Juniata College men?s volleyball team entered its match against Princeton University Saturday afternoon looking to avenge a heartbreaking five-game set-back to the Tigers earlier in the season. Instead, it was nearly an identical result as the home team outlasted Juniata by a score of 3-2. The Eagles are now 6-9 overall and 2-6 in EIVA Tait Division play. Princeton improved to 4-10 with the victory and raised its conference record to 3-6.

The Tigers posted a tight 19-17 win in game five to earn the 30-24, 25-30, 30-25, 23-30, 19-17 win.

The decisive game five ended in controversial fashion. With Princeton holding an 18-17 lead, Juniata was called for a violation on an apparent block, which created the final 19-17 margin. The Eagles actually had the match at game point after a double block from Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) and then a Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) kill made it 16-15 in favor of the Eagles. Princeton answered with back-to-back points before an Ocasio kill made it 17-17. The Tigers then scored the final two points to earn the win.

The Eagles attacked at a higher percentage than the Tigers and finished with more blocks, but could not pull out the win. Ocasio finished with a match-high 22 kills while also leading all players with 12 digs.

Juniata had four other players reach double figures in kills with Barndt and Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) each posting 12 and Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) and Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) both finished with 11. Werle passed out 64 assists in the match and helped Juniata hit .298 as a team. Barndt finished with nine blocks to lead Juniata.

Jack Pichard knocked out 20 kills to lead four Tigers in double figures. Peter Eichler had 16 Ryn Burns added 13 and R.J. Liljestrom chipped in 11. Brandon Denham dished out 58 assists and led the team with 11 digs. Michael Vincent posted five blocks to lead the home team.

The Eagles will need to rebound quickly from the set-back as they play Division III rival New York University Sunday in New York.

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