(Posted January 27, 2007)

Muncie, Ind. - The new season did not begin the way the top-ranked Juniata College men\'s volleyball team had hoped as the Eagles dropped a 3-0 decision to Division I Ball State University Saturday night. Ball State raised its record to 3-4 while Juniata is 0-1 in 2007. Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) led Juniata with 15 kills, but the Eagles were unable to slow the Ball State attack as they fell by game scores of 30-20, 30-23 and 30-28. Juniata was right in game one as a kill from Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster) made the score 20-18 in favor of the home team. But Ball State went on to score 10 of the final 12 points, including three kills from Nick Meyer to earn the win in game one. Ball State pulled in front early in game two as the Cardinals used a serving run from Matt Sprague to take an early 11-6 lead. A kill from Ocasio made the score 15-12 in favor of the home team later in the game, but the Eagles got no closer than three points the rest of the way. It was the Eagles who led for much of game three as back-to-back kills from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) put Juniata in front 11-8 and forced a Ball State timeout. Ball State rallied, taking the lead 16-15 before Ryan McGinley (Pennridge/Perkasie) tied it up with a kill. The lead went back-and-forth from that point on, before Ball State pulled in front 26-24. A kill from Ocasio and a Ball State hitting error tied the game at 27. Matt McCarthy and Ocasio then traded kills, before Ball State seized control with a double block from McCarthy and Jeff Schmitz. The game ended on a kill from Sprague. Juniata hit .346 and .308 as a team in games two and three, but Ball State hit .406 as a team over the course of the match as Juniata forced the home team into just 12 hitting errors. Ocasio knocked out his 15 kills with a .355 hitting percentage and Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) was also in double figures with 10 kills. Matt Werle directed Juniata\'s offense with 40 assists, and was also one of three Eagles with a team-high six digs. Barndt and Casey Dale (Cochranton/Cochranton) each added six digs for Juniata, while Barndt and Werle each also had a pair of blocks. Ocasio led Juniata with a pair of aces. Ball State had three players in double figures in kills, led by Meyer who produced a game-high 16 finishes. Todd Chamberlain and McCarthy added 13 and 10 respectively for the home team. Schmitz passed out 42 assists on the night and also recorded six digs. Ryan Clarke led all players with five blocks, while Ian Peckler produced 10 digs in the match. Juniata returns to action on Sunday as the Eagles take on Mercyhurst College for another non-conference outing. ###

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