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JUNIATA VOLLEYBALL HEADED TO MOLTEN CHAMPIONSHIP

(Posted April 15, 2004)

The volleyball team will be looking to earn its second Molten Division III Championship at Eastern Mennonite April 16-17.

EAGLES EARN TOP SEED FOR APRIL 16-17 TOURNAMENT

4/15/04--HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Juniata College (15-6) has been selected as the number one seed in the Molten Division III Men's Volleyball Championship to be held at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, on Friday and Saturday, April 16-17. It marks the eighth year for the tournament, which brings four of the top NCAA Division III men's volleyball programs together for a championship contest.

The top-seeded Eagles are slated to begin competition with a semifinal match against fourth-seeded Eastern Mennonite (VA) on Friday 32 minutes after the conclusion of the first semifinal match. The other semifinal tilt will begin at 5:00 p.m. when second-seeded UC Santa-Cruz takes on third-seeded Medaille. The third-place match begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday followed by the championship tilt which will begin 32 minutes after the conclusion of the third-place match.

Juniata is appearing in its fifth Molten Championship, tying them with Springfield College for the most appearances in the tournament's history. The Eagles were the 1998 Molten Champion, and finished as the runner-up last season in the tournament held at Juniata. The Eagles earned the bid by capturing the EIVA Division III Championship this past weekend. Eastern Mennonite earned the automatic bid given to the host school. Medaille captured the championship of the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association to earn its spot in the tourney, and UC Santa Cruz was selected as the Midwest/West region representative. Juniata enters the tournament ranked number one in the AVCA Division III top-15 poll. UC Santa Cruz is the fourth-ranked team in the poll, while Medaille and Eastern Mennonite hold the sixth and 11th spots respectively.

Juniata, which is coming off a 3-1 win over NYU in the EIVA Division III Championship, is led by senior middle Kenny Eiser (Central Bucks West/Doylestown), who leads the team and is among the NCAA Division III leader in attack percentage (.465). He ranks second in kills (248) and second in blocks (74). Junior setter Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) ranks first in Division III in assists per game (13.51) while ranking second on the Eagles in digs (106), aces (20) and blocks (69). With him directing the offense, Juniata ranks first among Division III schools with a team attack percentage of .322. Senior outside hitter Ryan Genova (Antietam/Reading) leads Juniata in kills (274) and kills per game (3.47). He is third on the team in aces (19) and third in digs (96). Senior opposite Brian Dinning (Penn Hills/Pittsburgh) has been a strong force for Juniata in the final month as evidenced by his selection as the EIVA Division III Championship MVP. Dinning ranks third on the team in kills (218), ranks first in aces (40), fourth in blocks (50) and fourth in digs (88). Sophomore libero Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) leads Juniata in digs (179) while sophomore middle Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) is tops on the team in blocks (107).

The Eagle have played just one match against the rest of the 2004 Molten Championship field. The Eagles earned a 3-0 victory over Eastern Mennonite in Huntingdon early in the season. Juniata has never faced Medaille or UC Santa Cruz in the history of the men's volleyball program.

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