(Posted February 2, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College men\'s volleyball team was pushed to the brink by sixth-ranked New York University but the Eagles made the plays down the stretch to claim a 3-2 victory in a battle of nationally ranked teams Friday night in Huntingdon. Top-ranked Juniata (2-1) claimed the first two games 30-18 and 33-31 but then New York (4-7) claimed the next two games by scores of 30-28 and 30-27. Juniata then righted the ship and held off a late NYU surge to win game five 15-11 and secure the win. Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) led all players with 24 kills as both teams enjoyed an efficient offensive game. The Eagles hit .475 as a team in the contest while NYU finished with a solid .299 hitting percentage. Juniata roared out of the gates in the decisive game five, as an Ocasio kill gave the Blue and Gold an 8-2 lead. But as they had done all night, the Violets battled back as two kills from Jon Wintermeyer and one from Macnair Sillick pulled the visitors within a point at 10-9. The two teams then traded side outs until a kill and an ace from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) helped Juniata claim a 13-10 lead. A double block from Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) brought Juniata to match point, and after a Sillick kill, a finish from Barndt ended the match. Four NYU players reached double figures in kills, led by Sillick who posted 21 finishes with an impressive .410 hitting percentage. Juniata had five players top 10 kills in the contest, each of which hit .286 or better. The Eagles hit .667 in game one and .381 in game two, but the team was hampered all night by its service game as the Blue and Gold committed 29 service errors. After Juniata\'s big win in game one, the two teams were tight throughout the remainder of the games. The Eagles never led by more than six points in game two, and NYU never held a lead of more than six points in either games three or four. Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) passed out 71 assists to direct the Juniata attack. Fritz was just a few kills behind Ocasio as he pounded out 21 finishes. DeHaven and Barndt each added 13 kills, and Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster) finished with 10 kills. DeHaven paced the team with four aces and 13 digs in the match, while Barndt produced a team-high six blocks. For the Violets Wintermeyer, Devin Zolnowski and Brian Vilven each had 11 finishes to go along with Sillick\'s 21. Ilan Goldstein dished out 49 assists on the night for the visitors and also brought up a team-high nine digs. Sillick had a pair of aces and also finished with nine digs, while Vilven led the team with five blocks. Juniata will get another crack at a nationally-ranked Division III team on Saturday when the Eagles host fifth-ranked Springfield College. ###

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