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Eagles Earn First Conference Win

(Posted February 9, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - For the third consecutive match the battle between the Juniata College men\'s volleyball team and Princeton University went to five games, but unlike the two meetings last season, Juniata came out on top as the Eagles earned the 3-2 victory over Princeton in EIVA Tait Division action Friday night. It was the first Tait Division triumph for Juniata, which improved to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Tait. Princeton fell to 1-4 and 0-1 in conference play. Juniata seemed in control after game one, but the remaining four games were all close before Juniata prevailed for the 30-21, 30-32, 30-27, 27-30, 15-7. The decisive game five was tied at four before a Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) kill and a Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster) solo block gave Juniata a two-point edge. Serving from Powers and Ocasio then helped the Eagles extend the lead, and two late double blocks from Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) sealed the win. Juniata had four players reach double figures in kills, led by Ocasio who produced 23 finishes on the night and boasted an impressive .395 hitting percentage. Juniata hit .331 as a team, and finished with 14 more kills than the visitors, but 29 serve errors from the Blue and Gold helped keep Princeton in the match. Werle directed Juniata to that .333 hitting percentage with 61 assists, and also led the team with three aces and 11 digs. Peter Eichler paced Princeton with 17 kills and also added a pair of aces. Juniata started quickly in game one, racing out to a 15-10 lead on a kill from Ocasio. The Tigers got no closer than four points the rest of the game, and a kill from Barndt closed the game. The Eagles held a sizeable lead in game two, but Princeton rallied late to insure it would not be a sweep. Juniata led 25-20, but the Tigers chipped away, eventually taking a 29-28 lead on ace form Mike Vincent. A Princeton service error, followed by a kill from Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) put Juniata at game point. The Tigers answered, and took the game with consecutive kills from Carl Hamming and Eichler. Games three and four were both tight affairs in which neither team held a big lead. Juniata pulled away late in game three, and then held off another late Tiger charge, eventually sealing the game on an ace from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntingdon, N.Y.). Princeton led wire-to-wire in game four, though Juniata pulled within two points at 28-26 on a kill from Barndt. The Tigers then sent it to a game five with kills from Vincent and Eichler. Fritz finished with 14 kills for the Blue and Gold while Barndt and DeHaven produced 13 and 11 respectively. Barndt led Juniata with eight blocks in the contest as the Eagles outblocked the Tigers 12.5-4. Hamming also reached double figures in kills for the Tigers, while Vincent finished with 11 kills and a team-high three blocks. Brandon Denham passed out 49 assists for Princeton in the match, while Phillip Rosenberg led all players with 13 digs. Juniata will return to action on Saturday when the Eagles host Stevens Institute of Technology, the team currently ranked fourth in Division III. ###

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