(Posted April 1, 2005)

Juniata 3, Springfield 2

Springfield, Mass. ? In a critical Division III match, the Juniata College men?s volleyball team insured that it would head into the postseason with some momentum as the Eagles outlasted Division III rival Springfield 3-2 in Springfield Friday night. The win brings Juniata?s record to 14-7 overall and 8-4 in the EIVA Tait Division. Springfield falls to 6-13 overall and 2-8 in the Tait Division.

The Eagles claimed the first two games 30-22 and 30-28 only to see Springfield rally to take the next two games 30-26 and 30-28. Juniata then regrouped and took the match with a 15-12 win in game five. For Juniata, the top-ranked team in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches poll, the win over third-ranked Springfield was the seventh of the season against a Division III team. Juniata closes the regular season with a 7-0 mark against Division III foes.

In the deciding game five, Juniata never trailed as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Springfield answered with a 5-2 run capped by a kill from Kevin Lail to tie the score at eight. Juniata moved in front by two, but Springfield responded again, tying the game at 11. Juniata then put together a final run with a kill from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.), then a double block from DeHaven and Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) followed by a Springfield attack error gave Juniata a 14-11 lead. Ricky Albano notched a kill for the Pride to hold off the conclusion for a point, but Juniata followed with a match-clinching kill from Barndt.

Juniata took control of game one midway through the game. Leading 12-10, Juniata ripped off nine of 12 points, the last on a kill from DeHaven, to take a commanding 21-13 lead. A double block from Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) and Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) ended the game.

Game two followed a similar pattern as Juniata took an early lead, but had Springfield fight back. With Juniata holding a 22-17 following a kill from Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) Springfield rallied to cut the lead to one at 22-21. Juniata maintained at least a two-point lead the rest of the way, and got a kill from Nick Bernardo (Christopher Dock/Lansdale) to end the game.

Springfield led throughout game three, with an Albano aced putting the Pride in front for good 12-10. A Barndt kill tied the score at 20 later in the game, but Springfield scored the next four points to pull away.

Juniata nearly clinched the match in game four with an Ocasio kill putting Juniata in front 23-21. The Pride rallied and pulled in front with a double block from Albano and Robert Soris. A Withum kill late tied the score at 28, but Springfield scored the final two points to extend the match to fifth game.

Juniata had three players reach double figures in kills, with Ocasio pacing the team with 17. He also had a team-high three aces. Barndt added 11 finishes with seven blocks, while DeHaven chipped in 10. Ziegler passed out 53 assists for the Juniata offense and had a team-high eight blocks. Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) finished with 18 digs to lead the team.

Brandon Mueller led all players with 20 kills in the match. Albano added 12 with seven blocks while Dave Smietana was also in double figures with 11. Soris recorded 52 assists for the Pride, and also had seven digs. Eduardo Stawinski was tops in the match with 27 digs.

Juniata will close the regular season with a non-conference match at Sacred Heart on Saturday.


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