DIII No. 3 Juniata Comes From Behind to Defeat St. Francis
Huntingdon, Pa. - Fortunately, Juniata College Head Men's Volleyball Coach Jeremy Price keeps his hair very short. That made it harder to see it turning grey over the course of the Eagles' two-hour long match against St. Francis University on Wednesday night in Huntingdon.
Juniata (8-8, 4-3 EIVA Tait) posted a dramatic 3-2 win over the Red Flash in an EIVA Tait Division clash at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center, in a match where the Eagles had to repel several St. Francis comebacks before finally staging one themselves in game five to seal the win.
Game scores were 30-16, 31-29, 22-30, 25-30, and 15-13.
The Red Flash (9-10, 5-5 EIVA Tait) grabbed a 3-1 advantage in the decisive fifth game, and held the lead until Juniata tied the game at 7-7 on a block by Zach Bock (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) and Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock). An attack error by St. Francis' Pete Freyer and a Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) service extended the Juniata lead to 9-7, before the Red Flash ended the run on an attack error by Craig Harvey (Beverly, Mass./St. Johns Prep).
After a side out kill by Bock followed by a kill by Harvey, St. Francis regained the serve on a side out kill by Mark Steele. Kill by Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) and Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) put Juniata's lead at 13-9, with the game seemingly well in hand.
St. Francis responded with a side out kill by Jordan Varee to cut the lead to 13-10, but an attack error on the ensuing Red Flash serve put Juniata on match point, 14-10. The Red Flash scored the next three points, closing the gap to 14-13, and forcing Price to call a timeout to set his offense.
On the ensuing serve by St. Francis' Steele, Wanner's attack was blocked back over the net but wide of the court, giving Wanner the kill and Juniata the victory.
Juniata held a 2-0 lead in games in the match, after dominating the Red Flash in game one with a .600 hitting performance and no attack errors. The Eagles pulled out a win in game two, despite seeing the attack percentage fall off to just .095 with a match-high 13 attack error.
St. Francis hit just .143 and .156 in games one and two respectively, but responded with a .310 attack percentage in game three and .345 in game four.
The Eagles were led by Halteman with 17 kills and a .448 attack percentage, while Powers logged 12 kills and hit .647 for the match and recorded six total blocks. Bock had 13 kills and four total blocks on the night. Werle set the offense with 54 assists with five total blocks for the Eagles. Libero Anthony Damiano (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) had eight digs.
St. Francis had four players record double-digit kill totals, led by Dave Reilly with 19. Nick Rivett finished with 14 kills, while Freyer tallied 13. Steele had 46 assists for the Red Flash.
Juniata will continue EIVA Tait Division play on Saturday afternoon as the Eagles face George Mason University at 4:00 p.m. in Fairfax, Va.
Article courtesy of Juniata athletics.