(Posted April 8, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College men's volleyball sent the Pioneers packing, holding Sacred Heart University, the second best offensive team in the conference, to a meager .244 attack percentage to win in three in their last EIVA appearance Friday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.

Set scores for Juniata were 25-17, 25-22, and 30-28.

Juniata celebrated the careers of two seniors, Dan Follett (Cranberry Township, Pa./ Seneca Valley) and Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./ Ambridge Area) in ceremonies between sets two and three. Vrooman had his own celebration on the court leading the team with 13 kills on 21 swings earning him a .476 attack percentage. Vrooman also led the Eagles defensively with seven digs, and also had a hand in two blocks. Follett sprawled for six digs and had a service reception of .955, committing only one receiving error.

Ben Wolff (Meadville, Pa./ Meadville) tallied eight terminations on 11 swings, accumulating a .545 attack percentage, and also led the Eagles with four blocks. Ross Madden (Richmond, Va./ Deep Run) and Alex McColgin (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) each chipped in with seven kills. Both freshmen were tough from behind the service line with McColgin recording four aces, and Madden tallying three. Madden ended the match with back-to-back aces in the third set to bring the score to 30-28.

Mike Kraft (York, Pa./Eastern York) led the offense with ease collecting 34 assists, his eighth match of the season with 30+ assists.

Reigning EIVA Hay Division Player of the Week Enzo Mackenzie led Sacred Heart with 13 kills, but the Eagles held him to a .176 attack percentage. Bradley Borsay chipped in with 12 kills and five digs and former Juniatian Craig Harvey also sprawled for five digs.

In set one, Juniata held a comfortable lead after the Pioneers struggled to get on the board. McColgin started the match off with a three-point run, putting the Eagles up 4-0. Juniata took advantage of Sacred Heart's offensive troubles, continuing to build a lead. At 18-10, Kraft committed a service error, and the Pioneers tried to circle the wagons, but it just wasn't enough. Pioneer errors continued and a double block by Vrooman and Wolff brought the Eagles to game point. Vrooman finished the set with a kill.

Sacred Heart's offensive struggles continued, and after two sets they were hitting .140. The Eagles jumped ahead early and held the lead throughout the set, with McColgin again starting things off with a three-point run giving the Eagles a 4-2 advantage. The Pioneers made great strides to keep the match close, with Tim Sadowski leading the comeback from behind the service line with a four-point run. A decisive kill by Vrooman at 11-8 ended the attempt. The Eagles continued to convert on Sacred Heart errors, ending the match with an ace by Madden, 25-22.

The third set was much tighter, offering 19 ties with nine different lead changes. Mackenzie tried to light the fire, going kill for kill with Madden from 8-8 to 11-11. A kill by Mackenzie followed by a Vrooman attack error gave the Pioneers a 14-12 edge, forcing a Juniata timeout. Sacred Heart extended the lead, until a kill by Vrooman brought the score to 17-19. John Almquist (York, Pa./ Central York) came in to serve and recorded a service ace bringing the score to 18-19. An attack error by Mackenzie followed, tying the match for the 11th time. Sacred Heart called its first timeout, hoping to freeze the server. It worked, with an ensuing Patrick Sibley kill gave the Pioneers a 20-19 advantage, but it wasn't enough to hold of the Eagles. The game was neck and neck with each team gaining set point, but neither squad could finish. At 28-28, Madden went back to the service line and recorded back-to-back aces ending the final home match of the season with style.

The Eagles will return to play in the EIVA playoffs beginning Saturday, April 23. The Eagles will face the number three seed from the Tait Division.


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