DIII No. 2 Juniata Rallies to Defeat NJIT, 3-2
Huntingdon, Pa. - Juniata College rallied from a 2-1 deficit in games to win game four and the decisive game five and post a 3-2 win over EIVA Tait-rival New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Saturday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa.
Game scores were 30-22, 19-30, 28-30, 30-28, and 15-8.
After winning game one handily with a .400 attack percentage and seven kills by Matt Fritz (Churchville, Md./John Carroll), the Eagles (5-5, 2-3 EIVA Tait) yielded to a Highlander attack that hit .407 while holding Juniata to a .114 hitting percentage.
Game three also went to NJIT (6-5, 1-4 EIVA Tait). The game was tied at 28-28 following a Zach Bock (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) kill with freshman Dan Follett (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) serving. NJIT's Eduardo Welter notched a kill off Follett's ensuing serve to put the Highlanders on game point, and Leonardo Paludo ended the game with his kill on Welter's service.
Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) led Juniata's turnaround in game four with seven kills out of the nine he recorded in the match.
Much like the game before, game four was a closely battled contest that was eventually tied 28-28. This time it was Juniata coming out on top, thanks to an attack error by NJIT's Greg Wagner that put the Eagles in front 29-28, then a kill by Fritz sealed the win.
That momentum carried over to game five, where Juniata jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a kill by Fritz, a Bock service ace, and a block by Fritz and Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock).
The Highlanders pulled to within two points of Juniata at 8-6, but the Eagles rattled off five straight points, three off NJIT attack errors, to take a commanding 13-7 lead. Side out service errors for each team put the Eagles at match point, and Fritz's attack over the right side of the net was returned by the Highlanders into the stands to the left of the Juniata court for the match-ending kill.
Fritz paced the Eagles offensively with 17 kills with eight digs, while Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) and Bock each had 15 kills. Powers posted a .609 hitting percentage with six total blocks. Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) set the offense with 54 assists to go with his team-high nine digs.
For NJIT, Paludo had a game-high 21 kills on a .349 attack percentage, while Welter recorded 16 kills. Chris Siddayao logged 12 digs.
Juniata returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 26, when it hosts East Stroudsburg at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center. The match, originally slated for Friday, Feb. 22, was rescheduled due to anticipated winter weather across central Pennsylvania.
Article courtesy of Juniata athletics.