HUNTINGDON, Pa., April 18, 2007 - The Juniata College men’s volleyball team earned its way into the quarterfinal round of the EIVA postseason for the fifth consecutive season by claiming a 3-1 victory over visiting Springfield College in an EIVA opening round match this evening. The fifth-seeded Eagles will now play fourth-seeded Princeton University Sunday afternoon at Princeton. SC, which was the No. 8 seed for the EIVA Tournament ends its season with a record of 19-10.
Nate Ocasio knocked out a team-high 15 kills in the match which gives him 1,000 for his career as he helped Juniata (17-8) to the win by game scores of 30-25, 30-23 and 30-28. The contest was the fifth meeting this season between Juniata and SC with the Eagles now holding a 4-1 edge in those matches.
Sophomore opposite Ryan Frederickson (Manahawkin, N.J.) led all players with 18 kills but the Pride hit just .217 for the match and also was hampered by 12 service errors.
In games one and two, SC hung with the Eagles until late in the game when the Blue and Gold pulled away for the wins. In game three, it was Juniata that had to rally as the Eagles made up a late deficit to complete the sweep.
Game one was tied at 19 after a kill from SC's AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.). The Eagles answered by scoring five of the next six points as Ocasio and Chris Gass teamed up for a double block, and then kills from Gass, Matt Fritz and Glenn DeHaven helped Juniata extend the lead. The Pride got no closer than three points the rest of the way as Juniata earned the win.
Juniata led throughout game two, but the Pride pulled close again at nearly the same points in the match as a kill from Javier Rosario (San Juan, Puerto Rico) made the scored 20-19 in favor of the Eagles. The Eagles scored the next three points and got late kills from Ocasio and Fritz along with an ace from Jeremy Barndt to capture the win.
Juniata held a slim edge for most of game three, but the Pride went on a run late in the game to put themselves in position to force a fourth game. Bill Yates (Albany, N.Y.) tossed in a service ace and Frederickson had a kill to cap a 5-0 run that put the Pride in front 25-23. After an SC service error, Zach Bock came off the bench and served four consecutive points, including back-to-back aces that gave Juniata a 28-26 lead. Two straight kills from Rosario then evened the game at 28, but Fritz answered with a kill for the Eagles and then an attack error from SC closed the match.
Juniata hit .330 as a team and had three players finish with eight or more kills. Ocasio hit .333 for his 15 kills, while Barndt and Fritz each produced eight finishes. Gass notched seven kills and also paced the team with five blocks in the match. Matt Werle dished out 36 assists in the contest to go along with five digs. Steve Yeager led Juniata with six digs.
Frederickson had 18 kills on 31 swings for the Pride to record a .258 hitting mark. Nally notched nine kills in the match and Rosario produced eight kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Freshman setter Eric Shoemaker (Mount Wolf, Pa.) had 27 assists for the Pride, while junior setter Chris Shekell (Rochester, N.Y.) came off the bench to provide 13 assists. Nally and freshman Justin Rita (Tracy, Calif.) each had a match-high 10 digs in the contest, while sophomore middle blocker Andy Sipe (New Oxford, Pa.) paced the team with four blocks.