DIII No. 1 Juniata MVB Past No. 5 Springfield
Huntingdon, Pa. - Three Juniata College players posted double-digit kill totals to lead the top-ranked Eagles to a 3-1 win over fifth-ranked Springfield College, in men's volleyball action Friday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa.
Game scores were 30-26, 30-25, 22-30, and 30-24.
Leading 8-5 in the first game, Juniata (7-7) took command of the game with three straight points off the serve of Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville), two of which were off Springfield attack errors. The Eagles survived a pair of Springfield threats - one that pulled the Pride to within two points, 16-14, and another that had Springfield trailing 27-24, but eventually wrapped up the win with a service error by the Pride's Andy Sipe.
Game two was the most contested game of the night, with 13 ties and six lead changes. The Eagles recovered from a 5-8 deficit to eventually take an 11-10 lead, with Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) logging three of his 19 kills on the night during the run. The game was last tied at 21-21, with Juniata taking the lead on a Matt Fritz (Churchville, Md./John Carroll) kill and a Springfield attack error. The Eagles notched the last two points of the game through a Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) kill and a attach error by Springfield's Mark Ribiero.
Springfield jumped out to a 5-1 lead in game three, only to see the lead fall to just one point on four occasions. The last of those one-point margins came at 16-15, but a Wanner service error followed by an Eric Palumbo kill allowed Springfield to pad its lead. The difference bounced between two and three points through 20-17, when the Pride rattled off three straight points to take command of the game.
Juniata responded in game four, with a pair of Wanner kills breaking open a 3-3 tie and helping the Eagles eventually take a 6-3 lead. Juniata began pulling away from the Pride with a five-point run starting at 21-16, with a pair of Halteman kills fueling the surge.
The Eagles allowed Springfield to post four straight points with Juniata stuck on match point, before a Wanner kill sewed up the victory.
In addition to Wanner's 19 kills, Fritz finished with 16 kills and Halteman logged 15. Werle had 52 assists, and also led the Eagles with 13 digs. Zach Bock (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) tallied 12 digs on the night, while Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) had a part of five of Juniata 7.5 total team blocks.
No Pride players finished with a double-figure kill total, with Palumbo registering nine kills to lead the squad. Eric Shoemaker had 25 assists on the night, and Brandon Waas had a team-high 11 digs.
Juniata faces New York University on Sunday, March 16, in New York City, in another matchup of ranked Division III men's volleyball rivals. The Violets are currently ranked third in the AVCA Division III poll.
Article courtesy of Juniata athletics.