(Posted January 23, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College men's volleyball team opened its 2008 campaign with little drama, but in the end pulled out the desired result as the Eagles battled their way to a 3-2 win over fifth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology, Wednesday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa. Game scores were 30-22, 30-24, 20-30, 26-30, and 17-15. Juniata (1-0) needed two attempts at match point before shutting the door on the Ducks. With the score 15-14 and junior Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) serving, Stevens' Tomas Bochicchio gained a side-out for the Ducks with a kill. Eagle newcomer Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) and junior Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) blocked Bochicchio's attack on the next play, giving Juniata the side-out and a second attempt at match point. Bochicchio then committed an attack error while returning Vrooman's subsequent serve, giving Juniata the win. Juniata dominated the first two games of the match, never trailing in either game while cruising to victory by comfortable margins. Stevens (2-1) began to mobilize its offense at the start of the third game, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before the Eagles got on the scoreboard. Juniata got as close as 11-9 in the third game, following a kill by Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield). Later in game three, the Ducks would rattle off five consecutve points off the service of Doug Reger, ending the run with a 20-12 lead which the Eagles could not overcome. Game four was a neck-and-neck contest throughout, with Juniata leading much of the way. Stevens finally pulled even with Juniata at 24-24 on a block by SteFan PremDas and Andrew Cranford, and took the lead at 27-26 with a kill by Cranford. The Ducks closed out the game four win by scoring the final three points of the game, with an attack error by Vrooman allowing Stevens to push the match to a decisive fifth game. Game five was another see-saw affair, with seven lead changes and neither team able to gain more than a two-point advantage. Matt Fritz (Churchville, Md./John Carroll) led the Eagles with 18 kills, while Zach Bock (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) tallied 11 kills. Werle finished with 53 set assists to go with his 11 digs; Anthony Damiano (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) posted a team-high 16 digs. Evan Halteman (Perkiomen, Pa./Christopher Dock) had seven total blocks. Bochicchio paced the Stevens offense with 13 kills and 12 digs, while Brand Grobeis had 41 set assists. Reger finished with 10 total blocks. Juniata returns to action on Friday, when it hosts Mercyhurst College at 7:00 p.m. at the Kennedy S+RC. -30-

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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.