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Juniata men's volleyball downs 10th-ranked NYU in three

(Posted February 28, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College's Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) logged 14 kills while hitting .650 for the match, to lead Juniata men's volleyball to a 3-0 win over 10th-ranked New York University, Saturday afternoon at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center. Set scores were 30-26, 30-24, and 30-19.

For the second-ranked Eagles (8-4), the win over NYU (3-13) was a measure of redemption after a disappointing 3-2 loss to Springfield College on Friday night.

In addition to Vrooman's stellar performance, junior middle Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) recorded 12 kills on 18 swings and hit .500 for the match, and tallied six total blocks. Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) rounded out Juniata's kill leaders with 10 kills and six total blocks.

Senior setter Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) had 42 assists and recorded a pair of service aces.

NYU's Devin Zolnowski put down 14 kills on 36 swings with nine errors and hit just .139 for the match. The Violets hit .121 for the match as a team, while Juniata matched its season-best with a .404 hitting percentage versus NYU.

Late in the opening set, a six-point Juniata run eventually left the Eagles with a 20-13 lead, including five straight points off NYU errors. A Juniata service error briefly ended the run and NYU picked up two more points on a Vrooman attack error and a Zolnowski kill. The Eagles kept at least a five-point lead through 26-21, when a Halteman attack error cut the lead to 26-22. However a service error by NYU's Goldstein returned the point and service to the Eagles. A three-point run by the Violets cut the Eagle lead to 27-25, and the teams traded side out points to 28-26. A Follett kill put the Eagles on set point, and an ace by Brian Jaron (Severna Park, Md./Mount St. Joseph) allowed Juniata to take the set.

Set two opened in much the same fashion, with the Eagles and Violets battling back-and-forth to 11-11, when a Wanner ace, and kills by Vrooman and Halteman allowed Juniata to take a 14-11 lead. A Zolnowski kill brought NYU back to within two, but a thunderous kill by Vrooman got the point back.

Juniata stayed at least two points ahead of NYU through 24-22, when the Eagles rattled off four straight points, including a Follett kill and a Jaron ace, to take a 28-22 lead. After a block by NYU's Hodgson and Goldstein, a Follett kill put Juniata at set point. Two plays later, Juniata clinched the set on a Wanner kill.

The Eagles jumped out to a 4-1 lead in set three, until a Ferragonio kill ended Juniata's run and NYU picked up two more points to knot the set at 4-4. With the score still tied at 8-8, the Eagles scored three straight points, including kills by Wanner and Vrooman. After a Werle service error, briefly cutting Juniata's lead to two points at 11-9, the two teams traded side out points and NYU picked up an extra point on a Luke Hamlet kill. Juniata's Vrooman responded with a side out kill of his own, launching a four-point Eagle run that left Juniata with a 16-11 lead.

Juniata managed to keep at least five points of separation from NYU, until another four-point run at 21-15 - a run triggered by a Vrooman kill and helped with a Werle service ace - all but put the set beyond reach.

Nine straight side out points followed, until Ilan Goldstein's bad set of a Matt Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount St. Joseph) serve gave the Eagles the set and the match.

Juniata will play its next match on Wednesday, Mar. 4, when it hosts Ohio State at 7:00 p.m. at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

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