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Juniata men's volleyball works overtime to get past #4 Stevens, 3-2

(Posted February 12, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The third-ranked Juniata College men's volleyball team required a little extra time in the fifth set before finally disposing of fourth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-2, in men's volleyball action Thursday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa.

Set scores were 30-21, 30-25, 25-30, 27-30, and 21-19.

Juniata (5-3) was led by junior middle Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) with 22 kills on 32 swings with only three errors, while junior outside hitter Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) tallied 21 kills on 46 swings with nine errors. Middle hitter Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) and outside Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) logged 16 and 11 kills respectively.

Senior setter Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) set 66 assists for the Eagle offense, while libero Anthony Damiano (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) had 16 digs.

The Eagles rolled past Stevens in the first two sets, aided by 12 Duck attack errors and 12 service errors in the first two frames alone. Juniata hit .333 and .387 in sets one and two, but did not reach that level again until the decisive fifth set when the Eagles hit .346.

Stevens (9-2) hit .542 in the third set to stave off the three-set sweep, and hit .350 or better in each of the last two sets.

The fifth set turned into a exhaustive marathon that when well beyond 15 points. Juniata looked like it might have the set in hand at 13-11, after a Wanner side out kill. After a Stevens timeout, a side out kill by Stevens' Doug Reger cut the margin to 13-12, and a Joe Trinsey block for the Ducks knotted the game at 13-13.

Juniata regrouped with a timeout of its own, and four straight side out points left the score still tied at 15-15. Another Trinsey block off an attack by Juniata's Dan Follett (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) allowed Stevens to eke out a 16-15 lead, but a service error by Reger on match point tied the game once more.

Werle put Juniata back into the lead at 17-16, and, six side out points later, the Eagles continued to hold the lead at 20-19. Stevens brought the match to a close when, off the serve of Juniata's Wanner, setter Brandt Grobeis was called for a ball handling error to give the Eagles the 21-19 fifth-set win.

Five Stevens hitters finished with double-digit kill totals, led by Andrew Cranford with 17 terminations to go with five blocks. Trinsey finished with 16 kills and nine total blocks, while John Dennan had 15 kills and four total blocks.

The Ducks finished with an impressive 14.5 total team blocks on the night, outworking the Eagles who finished with 9.0 total team blocks, but Stevens was handicapped by 21 service errors against only two service aces. Juniata finished with six aces with only 12 service errors.

After four matches over the last seven days, Juniata has a week to rest and prepare for its next match on Thursday, Feb. 19, when the Eagles will travel to Fairfax, Va., to face EIVA Tait rival George Mason University.

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