(Posted February 10, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? The Juniata College men?s volleyball team overcame a shaky start to outlast visiting Stevens Institute of Technology 3-1 Friday night in Huntingdon in a battled of top-10 Division III teams.

Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) knocked out a match high 19 kills as the top-ranked Eagles earned a 25-30, 30-18, 30-22, 30-25 win to improve to 4-3. Stevens, which came into the match ranked seventh in Division III fell to 10-7 with the setback.

The visitors seemed poised to pull off the upset in the early going as they used a late surge to claim game one. Juniata led 23-20 after a Fritz kill early on, but Stevens rallied to take a 24-23 edge on a Joe Trinsey finish. Another Fritz tied the score at 24, but Scott Stoner then ripped off three-straight kills for the visitors who then added a late block to seal the game-one win.

The Eagles wasted little time in righting the ship as a strong serving run from Fritz put Juniata on front 13-8 in the early going. Back-to-back kills from Ryan McGinley (Pennridge/Perkasie) and Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) extended the lead to 16-10, and the Eagles cruised from there to pick up the 30-18 win.

In game three Juniata took control midway through as a Fritz kill and a Stevens? service error gave Juniata a comfortable 19-14 lead. After a Chris Bock kill halted the run, Juniata countered with a five-straight points, capped by a Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) service ace that put Juniata in front 24-15 and the Eagles never looked back, taking the game 30-22.

In the final game the Eagles slowly built up a lead that they would maintain for much of the game. After a Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) kill and a McGinley ace put the Eagles in front 12-6, Stevens never got closer than two points the rest of the way. The Ducks edged within that two point margin at 21-19, but a Fritz kill and an attack error quickly extended the lead to four and the Eagles closed the game with a DeHaven kill to seal the victory.

Fritz finished with 19 kills with a .516 hitting percentage and eight digs in the match. Barndt and DeHaven were both also in double figures with 13 and 11 kills respectively. Werle passed out 58 assists in the match and helped Juniata hit .314 as a team. McGinley finished with a team-high three aces. DeHaven led the team with 10 digs and Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) notched seven blocks.

Stoner was the top attacker for the Ducks as he produced 12 kills. Bock and Andrew Cranford each added 10. Michael Schulte finished with 46 assists in the contest in directing the Stevens offense. Brian Carlson led all players with 13 digs while Stoner added 11 and Will Foley paced the visitors with four blocks.

Juniata returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Eagles host EIVA Tait Division foe Princeton.


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