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#6 Stevens comes back to beat #2 Juniata

(Posted February 9, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Sixth ranked Stevens Institute of Technology men's volleyball traveled to Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center to play second ranked Juniata College, looking to knock off the perennial powerhouse, and the Ducks came from behind to beat the Eagles 3-2 Wednesday night.

Set scores for Juniata were 25-16, 25-21, 16-25, 19-25, 12-15.

Juniata has played Stevens ten times over the history of the program, and tonight was the Eagles first loss. This was a key match in Division III, as the Eagles dropped to 6-1 against Division III institutions.

Senior outside hitter Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) tallied 16 kills on 35 swings while freshman opposite Alex McColgin (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) finished with 13 terminations on 30 attacks to lead Juniata offensively. Vrooman and McColgin combined for 10 of Juniata's 21 attack errors on the night.

Junior middle Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) tallied eight kills on 17 swings and posted a .353 hitting percentage, while freshman outside Ross Madden (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) logged nine kills to go with his four total blocks.

Junior setter John Almquist (York, Pa./Central York) logged 35 assists while running a Juniata offense that hit .246 for the match. Almquist also turned up 7 digs, d junior Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) sprawled for a team-high ten.

Stevens hit .256 for the match, led by SteFan PremDas with 20 kills on 36 swings for a .417 hitting percentage. David Evans logged 12 kills with a .200 attack rate, while Timothy Karl had nine kills and hit .438 against the Eagles.

Setter Brandt Groveis recorded 50 assists on the night with six digs. Thomas Hannum tallied for 10 digs.

In the first set, the Eagles looked sharp. Juniata never seemed to change their pace of play, despite six attack errors from the Ducks. The Eagles hit .519 for the first set, and held Stevens to .143. After going up 4-3, Juniata kept the lead the rest of the match. Sophomore Cameron Andrew (Dallas, Texas/Greenhill School) came off the bench to serve for two, three point runs, continuing to extend the Eagles lead. Vrooman and Wolff accounted for 11 of the Eagles points.

The second set was not as simple for the Eagles. The Ducks went on a 6-0 run before the Eagles even went on the board, the first three points gained by Eagles errors. Juniata trailed the match, slowly gaining points here and there until a kill by Vrooman sparked a three point run at 17-19. The game continued to go back and forth, until a service error by Stevens Brandt followed by an attack error by Jonathan Landis tied the match at 21-21. Vrooman went to the line and served for five points to finish that match at 25-21.

Juniata dropped the third set, hitting only .032. The Eagles only recorded nine kills on 31 attacks with eight errors. Stevens out-blocked Juniata finishing with a total of three blocks in the set. The Eagles fought back and came within seven, before a kill by Stevens Jake Modestow ended the set 25-16.

The Fourth set, Juniata changed its line-up. Freshman Ben Krouse (Holland, Pa. / Council Rock South) started at libero and sophomore Goran Skinder (New Holland, Pa. / Garden Spot) came in as a middle hitter. The Eagles scored the first point on a Ducks attack error, and never took the lead again. The Eagles again had a sub-par attack percentage as they hit .043 on the match.

The fifth and deciding set was close, as the teams went point for point with six tie scores and four lead changes. The Eagles pulled ahead at 8-7 before changing sides. The Ducks tied it again at nine before going on a four point run with a service error by Andrew, back to back kills by SteFan PremDas and an attack error by McColgin. The Ducks went on to win the set and match 15-12.

Juniata continues its stretch of home matches on Saturday night, as #5 NYU travels to Huntingdon in an EIVA Hay division match.

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