(Posted February 20, 2007)

LORETTO, Pa. -Three tight games, but no victories was the story of the night for the Juniata College men\'s volleyball team as the Eagles suffered a 3-0 set-back to EIVA Tait Division rival Saint Francis Tuesday night in Loretto. Juniata (6-4, 2-3 EIVA Tait) was forced to overcome deficits in each game, and twice nearly pulled off the comebacks only to fall by game scores of 30-28, 30-26 and 32-30. Saint Francis (7-5, 2-2 EIVA Tait) had three players reach double figures in kills and Juniata was unable to slow the home team\'s offense as the Red Flash attacked at a .389 clip. Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) paced the Blue and Gold with 15 kills in the match as Juniata hit a solid .280 as a team. Juniata found itself in big holes in games one and three, and each time rallied to tie the score late, only to see the home team come up with the points at the end. In game one a service ace from Travis Fox gave the home team a comfortable 27-23 lead. Juniata answered with a kill from Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) and after a service error, an Ocasio kill tied the game at 28. Nick Rivett answered with a kill from Saint Francis, and a Shane Conley service ace gave the Red Flash a 30-28 win. Game two was not as tight as the Eagles trailed by as many as five points at 20-15 after a Fox kill. Juniata would rally again, pulling within two points at 25-23 after a kill from Dan Powers (Manheim Township/Lancaster), only to have Saint Francis score five of the last seven points to claim the game. Game three was a similar story with the home team racing out to a big lead only to have Juniata storm back. After trailing 22-17 a strong service run from Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and then a kill from Ocasio and an ace from Zach Wanner (Hempfield/Lancaster) gave Juniata a 25-24 lead. The teams traded the lead back-and-forth with Saint Francis holding a match-point at 29-28 before Juniata pulled even on an Ocasio kill. Each team earned another side out before another ace from Fox and a Juniata attack error gave the Red Flash the 32-30 win. Ocasio hit .458 while piling up his 15 kills and Dan Powers boasted an impressive .769 percentage while producing 10 kills. Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) dished out 40 assists in the contest, and also led the Eagles with seven digs and a pair of blocks. Barndt matched Werle with a pair of blocks. Juniata finished with just three blocks in the match, while the Red Flash notched 11.5 blocks as a team. Marc Honore led all players with 19 kills in the match and finished with a .556 hitting percentage. Jordan Varee and Rivett were also in double figures with 16 and 10 kills respectively. Conley passed out 47 assists on the match, and added two of Saint Francis\' seven aces. Fox finished with four aces overall. Pete Fryer paced the blocking effort as he had six blocks, and Zach Nanni led all players with 10 digs. Juniata returns to action on Saturday when the Eagles face the New Jersey Institute of Technology as part of the Golden Dome Classic hosted by Rutgers-Newark University. ###

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