(Posted April 11, 2008)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- There will be no fifth consecutive Molten Division III Men's Volleyball National Championship for Juniata College. The Eagle men's volleyball squad dropped a 3-1 decision to Springfield College, in Friday's night first semifinal match of the 2008 Molten Men's Volleyball Invitational at Blake Arena in Springfield, Mass. Game scores were 27-30, 31-29, 30-19, and 30-25. Juniata will move on to Saturday's consolation match against the University of California, Santa Cruz. UC-Santa Cruz was downed by Vassar College 3-0 in Friday night's second semifinal. The Eagles (10-13) hit just .163 from the match, with 32 attack errors against 56 kills on 147 swings. Springfield (19-6) posted a .358 attack percentage over the four games, with 69 kills and 21 attack errors. Juniata registered 10.5 total team blocks, but the Pride recorded 15.5 blocks on the night. Juniata pulled away from Springfield at 21-21 in game one, following a kill by Matt Fritz (Churchville, Md./John Carroll). The Eagles then rattled off four straight points off the serve of Craig Harvey (Beverly, Mass./St. Johns Prep), including a Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) kill and three Springfield attack errors. Juniata maintained at least a two-point lead through 27-24, when back-to-back attack errors by Wanner allowed Springfield to pull within one, 27-26. Two Springfield service errors and an attack error by the Pride's AJ Nally put the Eagles on game point, and a Fritz kill allowed Juniata to post the 30-27 game one win. Juniata had its best hitting performance in game two with a .333 attack percentage, however Springfield topped the Eagles with a .400 hitting rate. The Eagles eventually worked its way to a 26-24 lead in game two, when Springfield's Javier Rosario knotted the game at 26-26 with a pair of kills. Six straight side out points put the score at 29-29, and a Cal Palumbo kill lifted Springfield into a 30-29 lead. An attack error by Harvey on game point allowed the Pride take the win. In game three, an 18-6 run by the Pride allowed Springfield to eventually take a 24-13 lead and cruise to the win. The Eagles hit just .025 in game three, with 12 attack errors to Springfield's three. Springfield effective controlled game four as well, using a 10-5 run to eventually post a 16-9 lead. The Pride's lead was not cut to under five points until a late Eagle rally that pulled Juniata to within three, 27-24, following a Harvey kill. A kill by Springfield's Nally was answered in kind by Juniata's Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock), but consecutive kills by the Pride's Andy Sipe and Ryan Frederickson allowed Springfield to close out the match. Wanner led the Eagles with 16 kills, while Harvey had 11 kills and Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) tallied 10 terminations. Werle set the offense for 46 assists, to go with eight digs. Anthony Damiano (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) recorded a team-high nine digs. Halteman recorded six total blocks. Juniata and UC-Santa Cruz will square off at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday at Blake Arena. -30-

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