(Posted March 31, 2006)

Huntingdon, PA ? The Juniata College men?s took a convincing first step in its quest to earn its fourth-consecutive EIVA Division III Championship as the top-seeded Eagles downed fourth seed Vassar College 3-0 in an EIVA Division III semifinal Friday night in Huntingdon. Juniata will now take on second-seed New York University which advanced to the championship match with a 3-1 victory over Springfield College.

The Eagles improved to 9-11 with the victory as they downed the Brewers 30-20, 30-13, 30-21. Vassar fell to 2-15. Matt Springer (William Allen/Allentown) and Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) each led Juniata with 10 kills as the Eagles hit an impressive .477 as a team.

Juniata never trailed in either game one or game two as the Eagles went up early in both games. An early serving run from Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) brought Juniata?s lead to 9-3 in game one. Vassar would rally to pull within three at 12-9 on a John Kessenich kill, but would not get any closed as Juniata pulled away for the win. It was a similar story in game two as a kill from Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) gave Juniata an early 12-5 cushion. Late kills from Springer and Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster) helped seal the 30-13 win.

Vassar came out hot in game three, leading by three points after a Brian Bacchi kill in the early going. The Brewers reclaimed the lead at 8-7 after a double block from Kessenich and Steve Micucci only to have Juniata scored eight of the next 10 points to earn a 15-10 lead. A Micucci kill and a Juniata error pulled the visitors back within three, but that was as closed as the margin got as a Ryan McGinley (Pennridge/Perkasie) kill closed out the match.

Along with his 10 kills Springer paced Juniata with seven digs. Barndt added a team-high five blocks to go with his 10 kills while he also hit .692 on the match. Ocasio chipped in eight finishes for the Eagles and Powers added six. Werle passed out 29 assists for Juniata with Zach Bock (Northeastern/Mount Wolf) dishing out 16.

Micucci led Vassar with six kills on the match, while Scott Leserman added five. Micucci also led all players with a pair of aces. Criag Lutterbein finished with 10 assists in the match and also notched a pair of blocks. Kyle Giunta led all players with 10 digs.

Juniata and New York will be meeting in the EIVA Division III Championship match for the third-consecutive season, with a berth in the 2006 Molten Division III men?s Invitational Volleyball Championship on the line. Juniata has won the last three EIVA Championships and has claimed the last two Molten titles. The Eagles are 2-0 against New York this season.


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