(Posted April 12, 2008)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Juniata College men's volleyball team completed the 2008 Molten Division III Invitational with a 3-1 loss to the University of California, Santa Cruz, in Saturday's consolation match at Springfield College's Blake Arena. Game scores were 31-29, 30-25, 25-30, and 32-30. After dropping the first two games to the Banana Slugs, Juniata (10-14) had its best hitting performance of the night to capture game three. After falling behind 4-0, the Eagles won three straight points and 12 of the next 16 to take a 12-8 lead. Keying the run were five points off the service of Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township), including a pair of kills by Craig Harvey (Beverly, Mass./St. Johns Prep). UC-Santa Cruz (15-11) rallied for the next three points to cut the gap to 12-11, but Juniata responded with an 11-5 run to take command of the game. The Eagles finally wrapped up the game three win with a Powers kill, one of his 13 for the match. The Eagles hit .371 in game three, committing just four errors with 17 kills on 35 swings. In game four, Juniata trailed the Slugs by as many as seven, 24-17, and closed the gap to 25-19 after three consecutive side out points. An attack error by UC-Santa Cruz's Bruce Dahlmeier trimmed the lead to 25-20, but regained the serve on a side out kill by Alex Schwartz. Matt Fritz (Churchville, Md./John Carroll) had a side out kill and a service ace to pull to Eagles to 26-22. Following a pair of side out kills to make the score 27-23, Juniata rattled off five straight points with Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) serving, all by Banana Slug attack errors, to take a 28-27 lead. A kill by the Slugs' Bryan Shires knotted the game at 28-28, and four straight side out kills left the score tied at 30-30. Back-to-back attack errors by Juniata hitters allowed UC-Santa Cruz to post a 32-30 win in game four, and take the match. Juniata was led by Wanner with 23 kills and a .340 attack percentage, while Powers rebounded from a .000 hitting percentage in Friday's semifinal versus Springfield College to hit .400 with 13 kills on Saturday against the Banana Slugs. Harvey tallied 11 kills on 28 swings. Freshman Dan Follett (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) led the Eagles with nine digs, despite playing in just two of the match's four games. Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) set the offense with 57 assists. The Eagles recorded nine total team blocks, led by Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) with four total blocks. UC-Santa Cruz had four players record double-digit kill totals, led by Shires with 15. Shires finished with 12 digs, while Jeff Hogg had 11 digs. -30-

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