JUNIATA VOLLEYBALL PLACES FIVE ATHLETES ON FIRST ALL-AMERICA TEAM
(Posted April 30, 2004)
JUNIATA'S EISER SELECTED DIVISION III PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Huntingdon, PA - The first ever American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III All-America team was announced Friday, with the Juniata College men's volleyball team placing five players on the 20-player team. Kenny Eiser (Central Bucks West/Doylestown) received first team recognition and was selected as the first Division III National Player of the Year. Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) and Brian Dinning (Penn Hills/Pittsburgh) were also first-team choices, while Ryan Genova (Antietam/Reading) and Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) were each picked for the second team. The AVCA has sponsored a men's collegiate awards program since 1991. However, Division III men's programs competed for the same spots on the AVCA All-America teams with NCAA Division I and II teams. A Division III student-athlete has never been honored on the AVCA Men's All-America Teams in the 13 years since the program was initiated.
Eiser caps his senior season by being named the first AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the year. He also earned second-team EIVA All-East recognition and was an EIVA Division III All-Star for the third time in his career. He was chosen as the MVP of the Molten Division III Championship Tournament, and was named AVCA/Sports Imports Division III player of the week during the season. Eiser ranked first on the team in hitting percentage with a mark of .472 and finished second on the team in kills. He also wrapped up the year second on the team with 93 blocks. Eiser closes his career with 367 blocks, ranking him second in school history.
Ziegler has been chosen first-team All-East and EIVA Division III All-Star in his first season as the full-time starting setter for Juniata. He was also chosen as the AVCA/Sports Imports and EIVA Division III player of the week during the season. He became the first Juniata player since the 2000 season to earn first-team All-EIVA recognition. Ziegler finished the season with 1,289 assists for an average of 13.43 assists per game which was tops in Division III. He now has 2,005 assists for his career which ranks him fifth all-time in Juniata history. Ziegler also helped the Eagles lead Division III in team hitting percentage with a mark of .321
Dinning was another first-year starter for Juniata but raised his play, particularly late in the season. He was a second-team All-East performer and was named a second-team EIVA Division III choice. Dinning's best play of the season came in the EIVA Division III Tournament when he helped Juniata to the Championship and was named the most valuable player. Dinning led the team in serve aces with 49 which tied him for the Juniata single-season record. He was among the Division III leaders in aces per game. He ranked third on the team in kills, fourth in digs and fourth in blocks.
Genova was selected as a first-team EIVA Division III All-Star and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Molten Division III Championship. He led Juniata in kills for the season posting 326 finishes, good for 3.42 kills per game. He finished second on the team with 27 aces and was third on the squad with 115 digs. He closes his career with 1,178 kills along with 114 serve aces which ties him for second in school history in career aces. He was a two-time All-East selection and a two-time EIVA Division III All-Star during his career.
Cole was one of two liberos chosen for the 20-player All-America team. The Eagle sophomore was picked as an EIVA Division III All-Star in his first season as the full-time libero, and was also picked as an all-tournament team choice following the EIVA Division III Championship. Cole led Juniata in digs on the season, recording 222 during the campaign and averaged 2.49 digs per game. His 222 digs are the fifth-highest single-season total in school history. He was among the Division III and EIVA leaders in digs per game. Cole was also the primary passer for Juniata and committed just 19 reception errors on 638 reception attempts during the season.
Juniata finished one of the finest seasons in the program's history with a record of 18-7. The Eagles claimed the Molten Division III Championship for just the second time in school history, and also earned the EIVA Division III Championship for the second-consecutive season. Juniata advanced to the semifinals of the EIVA Tournament for just the second time in school history, and fell just one game shy of reaching the EIVA Championship match for the first time. Juniata placed three players on the EIVA All-East team, the most in the history of the men's volleyball team. The Eagles were 8-6 on the season against Division I-II opponents, including victories over perennial eastern powers George Mason and Princeton.
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