(Posted April 10, 2004)

Juniata 3, New York 1

4/10.04--Huntingdon, Pa. ? For the second time in as many years the Juniata College men?s volleyball team captured the EIVA Division III Championship, this time on the strength of a 3-1 victory over New York University in Huntingdon Saturday afternoon. With the win Juniata qualifies for the Molten Division III National Championship which will be held April 16-17 at Eastern Mennonite University. The Eagles captured the win by game scores of 30-18, 30-18, 26-30 and 30-25.

Juniata senior opposite Brian Dinning (Penn Hills/Pittsburgh) was picked as the tournament most valuable player as he recorded 15 kills, two aces, nine digs and five blocks in the championship match. Eagle setter Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) and Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) both earned all-tournament team honors. NYU placed senior opposite Evan Finch and middle Chris Schmidt on the team. Springfield?s Brandon Mueller and Steve Terplak of Roger Williams completed the all-tournament team.

NYU moved in front early in game one with a kill from Daniel Brown giving the Violets a 5-3 edge. After Juniata tied the match at seven, the Eagles put together a 9-2 run highlighted by a kill and a block from Ryan Genova (Antietam/Reading). Juniata did not take its foot off the gas pulling out to a 23-13 lead after Dinning pounded a kill, then teamed with Kenny Eiser (Central Bucks West/Doylestown) for a block with Eiser following with a kill of his own. Juniata cruised from there?taking the first game by a 30-18 score.

Juniata began to pull away at nearly the same point in game two. With the match tied at six Juniata would slide back in front with a pair of kills from Dinning. Then leading 14-12 Juniata put together a 9-3 run which ended with Eiser notching a kill. Matt Springer (William Allen/Allentown) added a pair of late aces and three Eagles teamed for a block as Juniata capped the 30-18 game-two victory.

The Violets were determined to prevent a sweep as they controlled game three early on. After the Eagles jumped out to a 5-1 lead, the Violets stormed back as a solo block from Finch made the score 7-5 in favor of NYU. Juniata would never lead again as the Violets maintained a three or four point lead throughout the game. Juniata moved within one at 20-19 but Finch notched another solo block to maintain the lead. He would add another pair of kills down the stretch to help NYU stave off elimination and win game three.

Juniata?s defense took over in game four, along with the MVP Dinning. Juniata posted nine of its 19 blocks in the final game and held the Violets to a .047 attack percentage in the final. Dinning, Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) and Genova teamed up for a triple block to give Juniata a 12-6 lead. The lead would extend to as many as nine before a late NYU run cut the score to 27-23 and 29-25. But Dinning closed out the match with a kill to send the Eagles to the Molten Championship.

Eiser and Genova joined Dinning in double figures with 14 kills apiece. Eiser also matched Withum with a team-high nine blocks. Cole paced the defense with 15 digs in the match, just two shy of his career high. Ziegler passed out 49 assists while adding seven digs and five blocks.

Finch finished with a team-high 12 kills and tied for the team-high with four blocks. Leeon Alor dished up 39 assists for the Violets. Anthony Spangler brought up 10 assists to lead the team while Daniel Brown matched Finch with four blocks.

Juniata joins host Eastern Mennonite University, UC Santa Cruz and Medaille College in the 2004 Molten Championship field. The Eagles finished as the runner-up in the 2003 Molten Championships which were held in Huntingdon.


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