(Posted January 15, 2011)

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Juniata College men's volleyball won the first two sets of its battle with George Mason University, but couldn't pick up a third set to clinch the match and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Patriots on Saturday evening at George Mason's RAC Gym.

Set scores for the Patriots were 17-25, 21-25, 25-17, 25-19, and 15-10.

Juniata's comeback bid in the fifth set fell just short of its goal, after the Eagles rallied from six points down.

Trailing 11-5, a George Mason service error and a pair of Patriot attack errors brought Juniata to within three points at 11-8. Sophomore middle John Prout (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) and senior outside hitter Dan Follett (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) combined for the block on the second GMU error.

A service error by Juniata outside hitter Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) extended Mason's lead to 12-8, but freshman opposite Alex McColgin (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) got the point right back with a kill.

Shaun Sibley's attack error took another bite out of the George Mason lead to make the score 12-10, but that was as close as the Eagles would get.

Back-to-back kills by Mark Jones brought the Patriots to match point, and a triple block by Sibley, Brandon Joyner and Joe Norton sealed the win for George Mason.

McColgin led the Eagles with 21 kills on 44 swings, committing just eight errors and finishing with a .295 attack percentage. Vrooman put away 13 kills on 44 attacks, while junior middle Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) played error free with eight terminations on 18 swings - a .444 hitting percentage - and had a piece of seven of Juniata's 11.0 total blocks. Vrooman also had five total blocks for Juniata.

Junior setter John Almquist (York, Pa./Central York) recorded 40 assists with two aces, nine digs, and four blocks. McColgin also had nine digs, and junior Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) turned up 14 digs for lead Juniata.

The Eagles hit just .153 over the five-set match, committing 28 attack errors and 20 service errors with only three aces. However Juniata still managed to out-hit a George Mason squad that posted a .145 hitting percentage and offered up 29 points on attack errors.

The difference came at the net, where the Patriots tallied 18.5 blocks led by Sibley's nine blocks to go with nine kills. Jones led Mason with 13 kills on 30 swings, and added three service aces and five block assists for a team-high 18.5 points. Eric Lucas and Piotr Dabrowski added eight kills each.

The Patriots had 64 digs to Juniata's 58, led by John Jepson with 18.

The loss was Juniata's first of the season, dropping its record to 5-1 overall. The Eagles will return to the court on Saturday, Jan. 22, when it faces Carthage College. Match start time is slated for 9:00 p.m.


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