(Posted April 29, 2004)

Rutgers-Newark 3, Juniata 2

Huntingdon, Pa. ? The Juniata College men?s volleyball team was inches away from earning its first-ever trip to the EIVA Championship match, but in the end it just got away as the Eagles fell by a 3-2 score to Rutgers-Newark in University Park Thursday night. Juniata ends it season with a 18-7 record while Rutgers-Newark improves to 16-10 and will move on to play the winner of the Penn State George Mason semifinal on Saturday.

Juniata fell by game scores of 30-27, 29-31, 21-30, 30-27 and 12-15. It was the second time this season the Raiders defeated Juniata in five games.

Juniata raced out to an early lead in game one as a kill from Brian Dinning (Penn Hills/Pittsburgh) made the score 15-9 Juniata. The Eagles would extend the lead by as many as nine before Rutgers-Newark rallied late, cutting Juniata lead to 27-26. The Eagles answered with kills from Ryan Genova (Antietam/Reading) and Kenny Eiser (Central Bucks West/Doylestown) to seal the 30-27 win.

Game two would be crucial as the two teams were close throughout. Juniata moved out to a 14-11 lead when Juniata setter Rick Ziegler (Northeastern/Manchester) called his own number with a kill. Rutgers-Newark would fight back and the two teams would exchange the lead for the remainder, with Brian Dinning recording a kill to put the game at 28-26 in favor of Juniata. But the Raiders scored five of the next six points to earn the 31-29 win.

Rutgers controlled game three from the outset and ran to a 16-10 lead on an ace from Ben Bostaph. Juniata would not get much closer as the Raiders cruised to the 30-21 win.

Dinning put Juniata in front early in game four with a pair of aces. A kill from Eiser put Juniata on top 15-10 later in the game. Rutgers-Newark would come back again, tying the match at 17 and then moving in from 19-17 on a kill from Andrew Pink. A kill from Genova put Juniata back in front and then Eiser gave the Eagles a 25-24 lead. Jeremy Barndt (Souderton/Souderton) added a late kill and then Glenn DeHaven (Walt Whitman/South Huntington, N.Y.) notched a kill for a 29-27 lead. Barndt and DeHaven then teamed up for a block to send the match to a fifth game.

In the deciding game five Rutgers jumped in front 6-3. Juniata responded and back-to-back kills from DeHaven made the scored 7-6 Raiders. Juniata would tie the match at seven. But Rutgers pulled ahead 11-9 and the two teams would side out Genova notched two kills to bring the Eagles to 13-12. But Rutgers-Newark scored the final two point with a kill from Pink ending the match at 15-12.

Genova capped his collegiate career with a team-high 20 kills. Eiser added 18 finishes for Juniata, while Dinning recorded 14. DeHaven and Cordt Withum (Penn Manor/Holtwood) each recorded 10 kills. Ziegler passed out 69 assists while adding eight digs for Juniata defense. Dinning led the team with eight blocks on the match, and libero Tim Cole (Pennsbury/Yardley) led the team with 15 digs.

Pink matched Genova with 20 kills and added six digs. Aleks Ondelj passed out 56 assists and helped the Raiders to a .252 attack percentage. Trent Turner led all players with 17 digs, and Henry Richardson had 10 blocks on the match.

The match capped one of the finest seasons in Juniata volleyball history. The Eagles earned the Molten Division III Championship as well as the EIVA Division III title. Juniata also reached the EIVA Semifinal for just the second time in the program?s history.


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