(Posted March 22, 2008)

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Juniata College was held to just .124 hitting for the match as the Eagles dropped a 3-0 loss to George Mason University, in an EIVA Tait Division men's volleyball match Saturday night in Fairfax, Va. Game scores were 30-27, 30-24, and 30-19. Juniata's (8-9, 4-4 EIVA Tait) came the closest to upending the Patriots in the afternoon's first game, where they briefly trailed by four points at 14-10 but staged a successful comeback and only once trailed by that many points over the remainder of the game. Two Mason errors and a kill by Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) allowed the Eagles to tie the game at 16-16. After a pair of side out points, including a kill by Zach Bock (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern), the Patriots took the lead on a Bock service error and a kill by Mark Burik. Mason eventually widened its lead to 27-23, but a pair of Patriot errors and a block by Wanner and Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) pulled Juniata to within one, 27-26. A Burik kill was followed by a service error by Mason's Brandon McLaughlin, leaving the Eagles still only one point off the lead. A Juniata service error put the Patriots on match point, and an attack error by Wanner allowed Mason to post the game one victory. Game two was also a close contest, with Juniata trailing the Patriots by just one point, 25-24, after a Burik service error. However George Mason scored the next five points to seal the win. Game three was a carbon-copy of the previous two games, with Mason pulling using late runs. Trailing 19-16, Juniata nearly pulled even with the Patriots following a Halteman kill and an attack error by GMU's Kyle Gramit. A kill by the Patriots' Hudson Bates widened the Mason lead to 20-18; from there, Mason scored the next six points off the serve of Kwiatkowski to take command of the game. Wanner interrupted the run with a kill to make the score 26-19, but the Patriots scored the next four goals to close out the three-game victory. Wanner and Matt Fritz (Churchville, Md./John Carroll) led the Eagles with nine kills, while Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) had 26 assists. Three different players had eight digs for the Eagles, while Halteman was in on three of Juniata's four total team blocks. George Mason had three players record double-digit kill totals, led by Burik with 13 and Bates with 12. Kwiatkowski had 40 assists. Juniata closes out its regular season home slate on Tuesday night when it hosts Penn State at 7:00 p.m. at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center. -30-

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