(Posted March 2, 2005)

Juniata 3, George Mason 2

Huntingdon, Pa. ? For the fifth time this season, the Juniata College men?s volleyball team took on a Division I foe that was ranked in the USA/CSTV Division I/II Coaches Poll. But for the first time the Eagles earned the victory as Juniata rallied from a two game to one deficit to claim a 3-2 victory over 13th-ranked George Mason in Huntingdon Wednesday evening. The win improved Juniata to 8-6 overall and 4-3 in the EIVA Tait Division, while the Patriots dropped to 10-2 and 4-1 in the Tait. Juniata claimed the victory by game scores of 22-30, 30-27, 24-30, 34-32 and 17-15.

Trialing 26-24 in game four, and already down 2-1 in games, Juniata rallied with a pair of kills from Nick Bernardo (Christopher Dock/Lansdale) to pull in front 27-26. The teams would trade sideouts until a Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) kill put Juniata in front 33-32. Matt Springer (William Allen/Allentown) then ended the game with a kill, sending it to the decisive fifth game.

The Eagles came out fast in the final game, running out to a 9-5 lead on the strength of several kills from Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood). A kill from Juniata?s Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) made the score 10-6 in favor of Juniata, but George Mason scored the three points to pull within one. Another Bernardo finish put Juniata in front 12-10, but the Patriots answered again with back-to-back kills from Felix Campos and Hudson Bates making the score 14-13 visitors. Ocasio tied the game with a kills, then a George Mason attack error put Juniata at game point. Bates delivered another kill to knot the score at 15, only to see DeHaven knock home a kill for a 16-15 Juniata edge. Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) then delivered a kill on the final play as a George Mason player was in the net on the block as the Eagles earned the win.

The visitors seemed to have the match under control after easing to a two games to one lead. The visitors jumped in front 15-9 in the first game as a block from Dave Egan and Matt Steinfurth gave them the cushion. The Eagles got no closer than four the rest of game one with an R.J. Goubeaux kill closing the win.

Game two was tighter as Juniata made some lineup changes. Bernardo entered the match and gave Juniata a 17-14 lead with a kill. Juniata kept the advantage at two points or better the rest of the game as Bernardo then sealed the 30-27 win with a kill.

The Patriots took control of game three early on. A strong service run by Egan pushed the George Mason lead to 13-4 with Bates capping the run with a kill. The visitors maintained the sizeable lead, though strong late service from Steve Yeager (Hempfield/East Petersburg) helped cut the lead to 28-24 before a kill from Felix Campos finished off the game.

Withum led the Juniata offensive attack as he finished with 16 kills and a .600 attack percentage. Barndt and Bernardo chipped in 14 and 12 kills respectively, as Juniata hit .326 as a team, compared to the .205 hitting percentage Juniata mustered in the first meeting of the season between these two teams. Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) passed out 65 assists while leading the team with three aces. Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) had 10 of Juniata?s 28 digs, while Withum led all Eagles with four blocks.

Bates was the primary offensive weapon for the Patriots as he notched 24 kills on the match. Campos added 21 finishes and a .500 attack percentage. Shaun Powell and Steinfurth added 18 and 10 kills respectively. Egan directed the Patriots offense to a .378 hitting percentage as he dished up 69 assists. He also paced his team with two aces. Graham Sheppard was tops on the squad with eight digs, while Steinfurth and Bates both posted four blocks apiece.

Juniata returns to action on March 18 when the Eagles host Division I foe Ball State.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.