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Men's volleyball drops three-set decision to Springfield

(Posted February 18, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College men's volleyball's chances for a seventh and final Molten Invitational title took a significant hit on Friday night, as the Eagles dropped a 3-0 decision to archrival Springfield College at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

Set scores for Springfield College were 25-22, 25-23, and 25-18.

Juniata fell to 10-6 with the loss, while Springfield improved to 4-9 and halted a four-match losing streak.

The Eagles hit just .185 for the match, putting down just 29 kills on 81 swings with 14 errors. Senior outside hitter Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) paced Juniata with 10 kills on 19 attacks for a .421 hitting percentage, with a pair of blocks and five digs.

Vrooman was the only Juniata pin hitter to hit better than .200 on the night. Freshman outside hitter Ross Madden (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) hit -.167 for the match with three kills and five errors on 12 attacks, while opposite Alex McColgin (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) posted a .182 attack percentage with seven terminations on 22 swings with three errors. Junior Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) picked up six kills on 17 attacks, but also had three errors for a .176 attack clip.

Juniata middle Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) had some success through the middle, putting down three kills on nine error-free swings for a .333 attack rate. He also had a hand on four of Juniata's 9.0 blocks.

Springfield opposite Alberto Bravo logged 15 kills and hit .417 for the match to lead the Pride, who hit .412 for the match. Outside hitter Tommy Crow and middle Cal Palumbo each had eight terminations, with Crow also turning up eight digs.

A four-point run midway through the first set vaulted Springfield into a 15-12 lead, and the Pride maintained a lead the rest of the way. After Juniata chipped a pair of points of the Springfield lead with a Madden kill and a Springfield attack error, the Pride rattled off three straight points to take a 18-14 advantage.

Springfield eventually posted a 23-18 lead when Juniata began to narrow the gap on a pair of blocks and a Pride attack error. A Bravo kill put the Pride on set point, and following a side-out kill by Kraft, a Palumbo kill clinched the set.

Set two was similar to the first, as Springfield eked out a narrow lead and outlasted Juniata down the stretch.

With Springfield leading 21-20, a McColgin service error allowed the Pride to stretch their lead to 22-20. A Crow kill led to a 23-20 Pride lead, but a point awarded to Juniata cut the margin to 23-21. Palumbo's kill off the ensuing Vrooman serve put the Pride on set point, and three points later Bravo sealed the win with a kill.

A five-point run early in set three allowed Springfield to take a 12-8 lead. A three-point run and a four-point run later in the set gave the Pride a 20-15 advantage, and back-to-back side-out kills advanced the score to 21-16. Kills by Springfield's Mike Pelletier and Mike Becker gave the Pride a 23-16 lead, and consecutive side-out service errors had Springfield on match point. Two points later, a Juniata service error allowed the Pride to take the match.

Juniata returns to action on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 19, when it hosts Harvard University at 2:00 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.