(Posted April 22, 2006)

LORETTO, Pa. ? The third time was not the charm for the Juniata College men?s volleyball team as the Eagles fell to Saint Francis University for the third time this season, with this defeat coming in the EIVA Quarterfinals in Loretto Saturday night. The loss eliminated the sixth-seeded Eagles from the postseason and ends their season with a record of 14-13. Saint Francis, the third seed in the EIVA postseason, improves to 16-9 with the win and will move on to play second-seed George Mason in the EIVA Semifinals Thursday at Penn State.

The Red Flash claimed the win by game scores of 30-23, 30-27 and 30-28 to claim the victory. Juniata produced three more kills on the match than the home team, but were hurt by 22 service errors, and an efficient Saint Francis attack that posted a .354 hitting percentage.

Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) led Juniata with 12 kills in the match. Jim Fazzini led all players with 15 kills and became the third player in Saint Francis history to reach 700 kills for his career.

Juniata found itself in an early hole in game one, as consecutive double blocks from Jonathan Sherrick and Cory Spencer put Saint Francis in front 9-4 and forced a Juniata timeout. The Eagles would cut the lead to three on a Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) kill but would get no closer than three points the rest of the way as the Red Flash eased to the 30-23 win.

Game two was tight most of the way with the Red Flash taking a two-point lead on a Travis Fox kill to make the lead 21-19. Juniata rallied, tying the score at 23 on a Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) kill and then again at 25 on a Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) finish. Saint Francis then responded with a 3-0 runs, with kills from Fazzini and Spencer and an ace from Sherrick making the score 28-25. Juniata notched back-to-back points with a Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) finish pulling them within one at 28-27, but Saint Francis answered with two-straight points, sealing the win on a solo block from Marc Honore.

The Eagles were forced to play catch-up again in game three, as the Red Flash surged to a 15-11 lead on a Fazzini kill. The lead would remain between two and four points most of the way, until the Eagles went on a late run. Trailing 27-24, the back-to-back kills from Ocasio pulled Juniata to within one. Honore and DeHaven then traded kills to keep Juniata within a point at 28-27. Fazzini notched his final kill to bring the Red Flash to match point and after another DeHaven kill kept Juniata alive, Spencer ended the match with a kill.

Fritz finished with his 12 kills while posting a .320 hitting percentage. Ocasio added 11 kills for Juniata and led the team with six digs. DeHaven also reached double figures as he produced 10 kills. Barndt had team highs with two aces and four blocks in the match. Withum, one of two seniors who played their final match for Juniata, ended his career with eight kills and three blocks. Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) passed out 41 assists in the match for Juniata.

Along with Fazzinni?s 15 kills, Spencer and Honore both had 10 finishes for Saint Francis. Shane Conley passed out 37 assists in the match. Honore led all players with six blocks in the contest, and Zach Nanni brought up nine digs to lead all players.

Withum and fellow senior Matt Springer (William Allen/Allentown) played key roles for a Juniata team that won three Molten Division III National Championships and earned four EIVA Division III titles. The Eagles also reached the quarterfinals of the EIVA tournament in each of their four seasons, and twice advanced to the semifinals.

Our readers respond...

Be the first to provide a response.

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