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Volleyball Tops Springfield In EIVA Tournament

(Posted April 18, 2007)

Nate Ocasio knocked out his 1,000th career kill and helped Juniata advance to the EIVA Quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Springfield.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College men\'s volleyball team earned its way to the quarterfinal round of the EIVA Postseason for the fifth-consecutive season by claiming a 3-0 victory over visiting Springfield College in its EIVA Opening Round match Wednesday in Huntingdon. The fifth-seeded Eagles will now play fourth seed Princeton University Sunday afternoon at Princeton. Springfield, which was the eighth seed for the EIVA Tournament ends its season with a record of 19-10. Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) knocked out a team-high 15 kills in the match which gives him 1,000 for his career as he helped Juniata (17-8) to the win by game scores of 30-25, 30-23 and 30-28. The contest was the fifth meeting this season between Juniata and Springfield with the Eagles now holding a 4-1 edge in those matches. Ryan Frederickson led all players with 18 kills but the Pride hit just .217 for the match and also were hampered by 12 service errors. In games one and two, Springfield hung with the Eagles until late in the game when the Blue and Gold pulled away for the wins. In game three, it was Juniata that had to rally as the Eagles made up a late deficit to complete the sweep. Game one was tied at 19 after a kill from Springfield\'s AJ Nally. The Eagles answered by scoring five of the next six points as Ocasio and Chris Gass (Saint Marks/Wilmington, Del.) teamed up for a double block and then kills from Gass, Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) and Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) helped Juniata extend the lead. Springfield got no closer than three points the rest of the way as Juniata earned the win. Juniata led throughout game two, but the Pride pulled close again at nearly the same points in the match as a kill from Javier Rosario made the scored 20-19 in favor of the Eagles. The Eagles scored the next three points and got late kills from Ocasio and Fritz along with an ace from Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) to capture the win. Juniata held a slim edge for most of game three, but the Pride went on a run late in the game to put themselves in position to force a fourth game. Billy Yates tossed in a service ace and Ryan Frederickson had a kill to cap a 5-0 run that put the Pride in front 25-23. After a Springfield service error Zach Bock (Northeastern/Mount Wolf) came off the bench and served four consecutive points, including back-to-back aces that gave Juniata a 28-26 lead. Two straight kills from Rosario then evened the game at 28, but Fritz answered with a kill for the Eagles and then an attack error from Springfield closed the match. Juniata hit .330 as a team and had three players finish with eight or more kills. Ocasio hit .333 for his 15 kills, while Barndt and Fritz each produced eight finishes. Gass notched seven kills and also paced the team with five blocks in the match. Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) dished out 36 assists in the contest to go along with five digs. Steve Yeager (Hempfield/East Petersburg) led Juniata with six digs. Frederickson had 18 kills on 31 swings for the Pride to record a .258 hitting mark. Nally notched nine kills in the match and Rosario produced eight kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Eric Shoemaker had 27 assists for Springfield, while Chris Shekell came off the bench to provide 13 assists. Nally and Justin Rita each had a match-high 10 digs in the contest, while Andy Sipe paced the team with four blocks. Juniata and Princeton met twice during the regular season, with each team winning on its home floor. Both matches went five games. The Eagles will be trying to earn a spot in the EIVA Semifinals for the third time in four years. ###

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