(Posted February 10, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College men\'s volleyball team continues to work to prove that its place atop the Division III standings is justified as the top-ranked Eagles earned a 3-1 win over fourth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology Saturday afternoon in Huntingdon. The two teams were nip-and-tuck through the first two games as Juniata was forced to rally to win the first game, and then had Stevens Tech claim game two. But Juniata found its rhythm in games three and four as the Eagles earned the 31-29, 29-31, 30-17, 30-19 win. The victory improved the Eagles to 5-2 overall, while Stevens fell to 13-5 on the year. It was Juniata\'s third win over a team ranked in the top-six of the AVCA/CSTV Division III Top-15. Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) led Juniata with 17 kills and came up with several big serves to help Juniata rally for the game one win. With the Eagles trailing 29-28, Fritz came up with three straight serves and was helped defensively as Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) had a solo block and then teamed with Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster) for a double block to seal the win. Juniata nearly pulled off the comeback again in game two as the Blue and Gold trailed by four points at 23-19 following a block from Will Foley and Michael Schulte. Juniata cut into the lead, eventually tying the score at 27. A service error from the visitors gave Juniata a game point, but Stevens answered with a Scott Stoner kill and another double block from Schulte and Foley to take the game. Stoner led Stevens Tech with 16 kills in the match. Juniata begin clicking offensively in the final two games as Juniata hit a remarkable .762 in game three, and then posted a .333 hitting percentage in game four. The Eagles raced out to a 6-1 lead on a Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) ace and never looked back as the Ducks got no closer than four points the remainder of the game. Game four was a similar story as the Eagles raced out to a 10-4 lead before a kill from Jonathan Landis halted Juniata\'s run. Again the Ducks got no closer than five points the remainder of the way with a service ace from Powers sparking Juniata\'s closing run. Juniata hit .398 as a team in the contest and had four players reach double figures in kills. Ocasio finished with 16 kills and a .600 hitting percentage, while Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and Powers added 13 and 10 kills respectively. Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) passed out 57 assists in the contests while adding six digs and three blocks. The Eagles recorded 10 blocks as a team, with Barndt leading the way with five. Steve Yeager (Hempfield/East Petersburg) finished with 11 digs, while Ocasio added 10. Stoner knocked out his 16 kills with a .243 hitting percentage while also contributing eight digs. JoeTrinsey also reached double figures in the match with 12 finishes. Schulte dished out 45 assists for the Ducks and also led the team with six blocks. Brian Carlson led all players with 18 digs in the contest. Juniata will return to action on Thursday with an EIVA Tait Division contest against George Mason. ###

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