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Juniata takes first set, but drops match at Pacific

(Posted March 11, 2009)

STOCKTON, Calif. -- The University of the Pacific won three straight sets after a first set win by Juniata College, lifting Pacific to a 3-1 win over Juniata on Tuesday night in Stockton, Calif. Set scores were 26-30, 30-22, 30-21, and 30-27.

Junior outside hitter Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) led the Eagles with 20 kills on 51 swings for a .176 attack percentage, and recorded four blocks. Junior middle Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) was the only other Eagle hitter to finish with a double-digit kill total, with 10 kills on 18 swings. Halteman also recorded four blocks on the night. Senior middle Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) tacked on nine kills.

Juniata hit just .185 for the match, with 31 attack errors and 16 service errors. Pacific responded with a .302 attack percentage, and had four players with double-digit kill totals. Kevin Pratte led the Tigers with 17 kills on 35 swings, while Joe Forbes logged 12 kills on 21 swings with only one attack error.

Senior Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) set 49 assists for the Eagles, while junior libero Anthony Damiano (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) turned up 14 digs.

In the first set, Juniata picked up the final four points of the set to break a 26-26 tie and post the win. A Wanner kill and a Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) solo block gave the Eagles a 28-26 lead, and, after a Pacific timeout, Juniata got to set point with an attack error by Pacific's Jeff Hendershot. Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) closed out the set with a kill.

The Eagles jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, but the Tigers eventually tied the set at 15-15. Five straight points by the Tigers, including a pair of kills by Pratte, gave Pacific a 20-15 lead, and another five-point run starting at 23-21 put the Tigers in command of the set. Pacific scored the final three points of the set, including a block by Sean Daley and Jeff Hendershot on set point .

Another series of short runs in the third set, gave Pacific a 2-1 lead in the match, putting Juniata into a must-win situation for the fourth set.

The Eagles saw a four-point lead at 17-13 evaporate and the Tigers pull to within one point at 17-16, and Pacific eventually tied the match at 18-18 on a Jason Borchin kill. The Eagles responded with back-to-back kills by Werle and Wanner to retake a 20-18 lead, and Juniata stayed ahead of Pacific through 26-26. A Wanner attack error followed by a service ace from Pacific's Kevin Downing allowed the Tigers to take a 28-26 lead. Forbes' kill put the Tigers on match point, but Halteman kept Juniata within two points with a side out kill of his own. With Brian Jaron (Severna Park, Md./Mount St.Joseph) serving, Jason Borchin logged a kill for the set and the match.

Juniata (9-5) will complete its two-match California road trip on Wednesday night, when the Eagles face UC-Santa Cruz at 7:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. Eastern) in Santa Cruz, Calif.

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