Four Players Named To DIII All-America Team
(Posted April 9, 2007)
HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Another strong regular season from the Juniata College men\'s volleyball team has earned the team postseason accolades as the Eagles placed four players on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III All-America Team. Seniors Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) and Nate Ocasio (Northeastern/Manchester) junior Matt Fritz (John Carroll/Churchville, Md.) and sophomore Matt Werle (Meadville/Meadville) were all named to the 10-player first team. In the four-year history of the Division III All-America Team Juniata has never placed fewer than four players on the team and is the second time the Eagles placed four players on the first team. Barndt earns the third All-America honor of his career and the second first-team honor. He leads Juniata with 93 blocks on the season, and is second on the squad with a .441 hitting percentage. He has a career hitting percentage of .416 which ranks among the best in Juniata history. He established a new career high earlier this season with 24 kills in a win over East Stroudsburg, and he ranks second on the team with 228 kills this year. Barndt\'s average of 2.78 kills per game is the highest mark of his career. His 345 blocks ranks fourth in Juniata history and he has piled up more than 800 kills in his career. Ocasio picks up first-team All-America recognition for the second time after earning the spot on the first team as a sophomore. He has enjoyed a remarkable recovery from a life-threatening illness as a junior to have arguably his best year as a senior. His 292 kills leads the team, and he recently moved past the 900 kill mark for his career. Ocasio has established a new career-best with 104 digs, which ranks third on the team and he\'s second on the team with 20 aces. He\'s reached double figures in kills in 16 of the 19 matches in which he has appeared this year, including a high of 27 finishes against Division I Princeton. He also has recorded four double-doubles in kills and digs during the season. Fritz earned a spot on the All-America first team for the second-consecutive season. The junior ranks second on the Eagles with 258 kills and is averaging 3.39 kills per game on the year. He\'s also third on the team with 19 aces, and fourth with 94 digs. Fritz has scored the second-most points on the year for Juniata with 293.5 over 21 matches. He knocked out a career-high 28 kills in a victory over Springfield, one of the 15 times this season he reached double figures in kills. That performance helped him earn AVCA Division III Player of the Week honors. He topped 20 kills on two other occasions this season. After earning second-team All-America status as a freshman Werle moves up to the first team in his sophomore season. The setter has passed out 1,052 assists during the year, and he leads Division III in assists per game. He has helped Juniata rank near the top of Division III with a .289 team hitting percentage, a mark that is nearly 20 points higher than the 2006 season total. Werle also leads Juniata with 24 aces and is second on the team in digs and blocks with 135 and 74 respectively. He passed out a career-high 71 assists in a five-game win over New York and has helped Juniata hit .300 or better as a team in 10 matches this season. Juniata\'s four All-Americans will be in action Tuesday night when the Eagles conclude the regular season with a home match against Division I Saint Francis. Juniata will then welcome the top teams in Division III for the Molten Division III Men\'s Invitational Championship which will be April 13-14 in Huntingdon. The AVCA Division III Player of the Year will be announced at the Molten Championship Banquet which will be held Thursday evening. ###
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