(Posted March 1, 2006)

Penn State 3, Juniata 0

HUNTINGDON, Pa. ? A balanced offensive attack from the ninth-ranked Division I team in the country was too much for the Juniata College men?s volleyball team as the Eagles fell by a 3-0 score to Penn State in EIVA Tait Division action in Huntingdon Wednesday night.

The visitors finished with four players with eight or more kills and a .455 hitting percentage to hand the Eagles the loss by game scores of 30-23, 30-28, 30-22.

Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) reached double figures for Juniata for the third-consecutive match as he finished with 11 kills. Penn State?s Max Holt led all players with 12 finishes.

The Eagles hung right with the visitors through most of game one, as a Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster) kills pulled Juniata to within a point at 17-16. The visitors would then pull away with a pair of double blocks one from Nate Meerstein and Kevin Wentzel and then another from Meerstein and Dan O?Dell to take a 24-20 edge en route to the 30-23 victory.

Game two was the tightest of the match as Juniata overcame an early deficit to make it close at the end. Trailing by as many as four mid-way through the game, a double block from Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) and Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) and a Ocasio kill tied the game at 18. The Eagles stayed within striking distance as a pair of Fritz kills kept Juniata within a point late in the game, but a Matt Proper finish closed the game 30-28.

After the comeback fell short in game two, the home team did not look to have the energy for the comeback in game three. A Proper service ace pushed Penn State to a 17-10 lead and then a 4-0 run later in the game extended the cushion to 24-14. A late kill from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) sparked a Juniata run to cut into the lead, but the visitors closed the match with a Meerstein kill.

DeHaven and Fritz both added nine finishes to go with Ocasio?s 11 for the Blue and Gold with DeHaven hitting a team-best .333 in the match. Zach Bock (Northeastern/Mount Wolf) dished out 26 assists for the Eagles. Withum led all players with seven blocks in the match and Steve Yeager (Hempfield/East Petersburg) paced the team with eight digs.

Holt finished with 12 kills and a .846 hitting percentage in the match. Meerstein chipped in nine finishes while Proper and Wentzel each added eight. O?Dell dished out 37 assists to lead the Penn State offense. Defensively Aaron Smith brought up eight digs, while Meerstein finished with five blocks.

Juniata continues its recent tough schedule when the Eagles play at nationally ranked Ohio State Friday night.


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