(Posted March 4, 2011)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Juniata College men's volleyball hit .333 edging out the Crimson of Harvard University on the road Friday night in four sets.

Set scores for Juniata were 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, and 25-22. Harvard outserved the Eagles, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles offense gave them all they could handle.

Junior Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) led an outside attack dishing out 45 assists. Outside hitters Ross Madden (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) and Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) combined for 31 of the team's 52 kills. Madden led the team with 18 kills on 28 swings, hitting a game high .571. Madden also had a hand in two blocks. Vrooman tallied 13 kills on 27 swings hitting .333 on the match.

Middle hitter Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) finished with 10 terminations on 16 swings with only one error totaling a .562 attack percentage. Juniata accumulated 12 blocks, and Wolff had a hand on four of them.

Senior Libero Dan Follet (Cranberry Township, Pa.) sprawled for a game high 12 digs. John Almquist (York, Pa./Central York) turned up seven digs and served one of the team's five aces.

Statistically, Juniata barely beat the Crimson. Harvard hit .226 on the match, hitting .500 in the first set while the Eagles finished with an attack percentage of .333. Serving was not a strong point for either team, as the Crimson committed 17 errors while the Eagles had 20 errors from behind the service line. Both teams finished with 32 digs.

Harvard was led by junior Matt Jones, who finished with 15 kills but committed seven errors and accounted for 19 of Harvard's points. Freshman Chris Gibbons was the only other hitter for Harvard to finish in the double digits. Gibbons put down 11 kills, but also committed seven errors. Setter Rob Lothman tallied 40 assists and had a team high nine digs.

Juniata dropped the first set 25-22. The teams rallied until a kill by Harvard's Kyle Rehkemper sparked a four-point run to put the Crimson up 10-8. The points continued to go back and forth until a kill by Jones sparked another run by the Crimson. Harvard went up 16-11 and continued on to win the set.

Juniata trailed most of the second set until a service error by Rehkemper and a Harvard attack error gave Juniata an 18-17 lead. Two side out points later the score was 19-18 for the Eagles, who never trailed again in the set. Back-to-back kills by Madden and Wolff eventually put Juniata up 23-21, and a Harvard serving error put the Eagles at match point. Juniata won the set 25-23 on a Kraft-Wolff double block.

The third set followed the pattern as the teams battled for the lead, but neither team able to gain more than a two point advantage. A kill by Madden gave the Eagles a lead at 23-21, but the Crimson answered with a kill by Gibbons. Madden and Vrooman each answered with kills, giving Juniata a 25-22 win in the set a a 2-1 lead in sets.

The Eagles led most of the final set, taking a 13-7 lead before kills by the Crimson's Gibbons and Jones and a pair of Chris Gibbons service aces forced Juniata to take a timeout. Juniata gained a little momentum after two Harvard errors put the Eagles up 18-14. A Rehkemper service error advanced the Eagles to match point, but two Juniata errors let the Crimson edge their way back in, 24-22. A decisive kill by Madden ended the match.

Juniata returns to the road when it resumes play following spring break, traveling to Fairfield, Conn., on Saturday, March 19, to take on Sacred Heart University in a key EIVA Hay Division match-up.


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