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Volleyball Outlasted By George Mason

(Posted April 15, 2006)

Nate Ocasio led all players with 20 kills in the season finale against George Mason.

George Mason 3, Juniata 1

FAIRFAX, Va. ? The Juniata College men?s volleyball team was able to take a game from 13th-ranked George Mason, but in the end the Patriots outlasted the Eagles 3-1 in EIVA Tait Division action Saturday night. The Eagles close the regular season with a 13-12 mark and a 3-9 record in the Tait Division, while George Mason is now 22-5 overall and 11-1 in the Tait.

Juniata jumped out to an early lead by claiming game one by a 30-27 score but then saw the Patriots rally to earn 30-19, 30-22 and 31-29 to earn the win.

The Eagles took control in game one midway through as Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) knocked out three-straight kills and a then two-consecutive blocks helped Juniata take a 20-14 lead. George Mason would rally on a block from Shaun Powell and R.J. Goubeaux but a late kill from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) sealed the game.

The Patriots would control games two and three, hitting above .400 in both games, and limiting the Eagles to a .207 percentage or less in both games. Early kills from Bryan Newcombe and Matt Steinfurth gave the home team an 11-4 edge in game two, as they would cruise to a 30-19 lead. The Eagles stayed within three points for much of game four before a Hudson Bates ace sparked an 8-2 Mason run en route to the 30-22 win.

Juniata looked poised to extend the match to a fifth game as three Ocasio finishes and a Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) kill brought Juniata to game point at 29-26. But from there Mason rolled out five-straight points ending the match on a kill from Goubeaux to seal the win.

Ocasio led all players with 20 kills in the match, while Fritz and DeHaven added 15 and 13 respectively. Fritz also led the team with three aces and brought up eight digs. Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) passed out 51 assists for Juniata in the match. Casey Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton) led the team with 10 digs and Withum was tops with four blocks.

Powell led a balanced Mason attack as he recorded 19 kill. Bates and Matt Steinfurth each added nine kills. Powell and Bates each recorded a team-high five digs, while Steinfurth led the team with six blocks. Bryan Newcombe passed out 40 assists and helped the home team post a .311 hitting percentage.

With the regular season now complete, Juniata will begin the EIVA postseason. The six-seed in the postseason the Eagles will begin play with a play-in match at home against East Stroudsburg on Wednesday.

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