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Men's volleyball is held off by Saint Francis in four

(Posted March 31, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College men's volleyball team dropped a four set match against Saint Francis at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center, tonight. This match was the first time in four years that the Red Flash took a game from the Eagles at home.

Set scores for the match were 30-27, 30-27, 24-30 and 30-28.

Set one started out close, with both teams within two points of each other until 21-19, where a Juniata error gave Saint Francis the 22-19 edge. Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge)was than able to side-out for the Eagles with a kill. A service error then put the Red Flash on top at 23-20. Juniata answered back with two kills by Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./ Christopher Dock) and Mike Kraft (York, Pa./ Eastern York) putting the score at 23-22.

Saint Francis then went on a three point run to put them up 28-25, forcing Juniata to call a time out. Right out of the gates after the time out Kraft hit the Red Flash with a kill, closing the gap to 28-26. However, a Juniata service error gave Saint Francis set point. A ball handling error by Juniata ended set one for the Eagles.

Juniata jumped out on to an early lead at 9-4 in set two, until a Nick Rivett kill stopped the Eagles run. Juniata stayed ahead of Saint Francis until the Read Flash tied the set at 14-14 with the help of an Eagle attack error.

The lead flip-flopped back and forth between both teams until a service error gave Saint Francis 21-19 lead and the momentum they needed to finish the set. Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./ Hempfield) closed the gap at 28-27 with a kill, but the Eagles could not hold off the Red Flash. A Rivett kill and block by Jordan Varee and Patrick McManamon ended set two in favor of Saint Francis.

In set three Juniata and Saint Francis (10-11, 3-5 EIVA) battled for the lead until the Red Flash made a five point run, four points were errors by the Eagles. Saint Francis carried the lead until a Wanner termination tied the set at 20-20, forcing the Red Flash to call a timeout. Juniata kept the pressure on and added two more points with a kill and block by Kraft to set the Eagles apart at 22-20, where Saint Francis was forced to call its second timeout of the set.

Juniata (6-12, 2-6 EIVA) followed the timeout with an 8-4 run to win set three 30-24, ending it with a kill by Halteman.

The start of set four was neck-in-neck, with both teams trying to establish an early lead. Saint Francis pulled ahead 7-4 with a block by Tyler Mattera and McManamon, but Halteman answered back with one of his 17 kills during the match, to put the score at 7-5.

The Eagles continued to narrow the gap and tied the score at 11-11 with the help of a Rivett hitting error. The two teams struggled back and forth to gain control of the lead through the middle portion of the game. Saint Francis took control at 22-20 with two Juniata errors. The Eagles fought to stay in the match but could not hold off the Red Flash, even with the momentum that started with Casey Baum (Columbia, Pa./Hempfield). Baum entered the match for Juniata to serve, trailing 29-26 and got the Eagles within one point at 28-29. Jordan Varee ended the Juniata rally and the match with a kill to give Saint Francis the victory.

Halteman (.625) and Kraft (.467) led the offense for the Eagles both with 17 kills in the match. Vrooman contributed with 13 kills and four errors on 38 attempts attacking .237 along with 12 digs for the night.

Setter John Almquist (York, Pa./ Central York) dished out a career high of 63 assists and 15 digs, while Anthony Damiano (Lititiz, Pa./ Manheim Township) logged 20 digs in four sets.

Juniata next travels to Rutgers-Newark on April 1, 2010, to play a rescheduled match from earlier this season. The teams next home game with be on Saturday, April 9, when they take on Princeton University. The game is slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.

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