(Posted April 24, 2004)

Juniata 3, Springfield 1

Huntingdon, Pa. â?? For the third time this season, the Juniata College men's volleyball team knocked off Division III rival Springfield, with this victory propelling the Eagles to the semifinals of the EIVA Tournament for the first time since 1999. Juniata topped the Pride by games scores of 30-20, 26-30, 30-25 and 30-25 to earn the right to take on second-seed Rutgers-Newark in the semifinals. Juniata is now 18-6 on the year, while Springfield fell to 7-16.

After trailing early in game one, the Eagles went on a run half-way through the opening game. A solo block from Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) capped the run and forced a Springfield timeout with the score 15-9. The Eagles would maintain a sizable lead throughout the game, with Ryan Genova (Antietam/Reading) pounding out a late kill to give the Eagles the win.

Though game two was close, Springfield was in control nearly the whole way as the Pride trailed on only two occasions in the game. Back-to-back kills from Brandon Mueller broke a 26-26 tie and put the Pride in front. Ricky Albano and Mark Schlabach then posted a pair of double blocks to seal the game-two win for Springfield.

In the pivotal game three, the Pride again jumped out early, leading by as many as three in the early going. A block from Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) and Brian Dinning (Penn Hills/Pittsburgh) sparked a run for Juniata as the Eagles went from down a point to up 19-17. Kenny Eiser (Central Bucks West/Doylestown) then got hot for the Eagles as he recorded three kills as Juniata ran out to a 24-20 lead. Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) then came off the bench with three kills down the stretch as Juniata took the win.

The Eagles got off to their fastest start in game four, as a kill from Withum put Juniata up 15-9. A kill from Springfield's Kevin Lail forced a Juniata timeout with the score 15-12 Eagles. Juniata responded out of the timeout, winning five of the next six points to take control of the game. A triple block from Eiser, Matt Springer (William Allen/Allentown) and Ricky Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) capped the run and put Juniata up 20-13. Springfield responded with a kill from Mueller and a block by Mueller and Nick Beer, but the Pride would get no closer than five the rest of the way. Genova added a pair of late kills, and Juniata took the deciding game 30-20.

Genova paced Juniata with a team-high 15 kills while adding eight digs and three aces. Withum and Eiser each added 12 finishes for Juniata while recording .800 and .550 attack percentages respectively. Withum also led all players with a career-high 11 blocks. Ziegler passed out 53 assists on the night, and helped Juniata hit .383 as a team. Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) led all players with 11 digs.

Mueller was the only Springfield player to record double digits in kills as he finished with 15. Chris Hosley notched nine finishes for the Pride, and brought up a team-high six digs. Schlabach dished up 39 assists for Springfield, while Albano led the defenders at the net with seven blocks.

The EIVA semifinal match between Juniata and Rutgers-Newark will be played at Penn State on April 29. Rutgers-Newark advanced to the semifinals on the strength of a 3-0 win over New York University. Juniata dropped both regular season meetings between the two schools. The Eagles fell 3-2 in Huntingdon, and dropped a 3-1 decision at Rutgers-Newark.


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