DIII No. 1 Juniata Downs EIVA Rival Saint Francis, 3-0
HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College men's volleyball team outlasted Saint Francis University in sets one and three and buried the Red Flash in set two, on its way to a 3-0 victory in an EIVA Tait Division matchup Friday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.
Set scores for Juniata were 30-26, 30-17, and 30-27.
Junior outside hitter Zach Wanner (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) led the Eagles with 13 kills. Senior middle hitter Dan Powers (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) celebrated "Senior Night" with 11 kills on 17 swings with only two errors for a .529 attack percentage, to go with his four total blocks.
Senior setter Matt Werle (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) guided the offense with 40 assists.
Junior middle Evan Halteman (Perkiomenville, Pa./Christopher Dock) recorded a team-high five total blocks for the Eagles, to go with his five kills on seven swings, while sophomore Chris Vrooman (Baden, Pa./Ambridge Area) led the Eagles with seven digs.
Saint Francis (12-12, 5-5 EIVA Tait) had two players finish with double-digit kill totals, led by Jordan Varee with 17 terminations on 40 total attacks. Nick Rivett had 10 kills on 25 swings. Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Huntingdon-native Patrick McManamon finished with six kills on 12 swings.
Juniata (13-7, 7-4 EIVA Tait) outhit Saint Francis, .293 to .098, with the Red Flash handing away 28 points on attack errors alone.
In the first set, Juniata recovered from an 18-15 deficit with a 7-0 run to take a 22-18 lead. Halteman had a service ace during the run, but the Eagles benefitted most from four Red Flash attack errors, in addition to a Vrooman kill and a block by Powers and Dan Follett (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley). Juniata held the lead throughout the remainder of the set, finally putting away the Red Flash on a block by Vrooman and Halteman.
Set two opened with Saint Francis and Juniata trading the lead four times, before the Eagles began to get some separation from the Red Flash at 9-8, thanks to a pair of Powers and Follett blocks. A Follett kill widened the lead to 10-8, and after the teams traded sideout kills, a Red Flash attack error stretched Juniata's lead to three points at 12-9.
Juniata maintained at least two points lead over Saint Francis through 15-13, when the Eagles rattled off four straight points to take control of the set. A Wanner kill to finish a lengthy rally at 17-13, followed by a Halteman block solo at 18-13, brought the crowd to life and swung momentum solidly in Juniata's favor. The Eagles outscored the Red Flash 12-4 the rest of the way in the second set, with a Follett kill putting Juniata on set point, 29-16, and a Saint Francis attack error sealing the win two points later.
In the third set, the Eagles led from the third point of the set, but were unable to get more than a three point lead over the Red Flash. Saint Francis finally battled its way back into the match with three consecutive points, tying the contest at 25-25. Five straight side out points left Juniata holding a 28-27 lead, and a block by Wanner put the Eagles on match point, 29-27. A block by Wanner and Halteman finally closed out the set and the match, giving the Eagles the 3-0 victory.
Juniata will close out its regular season home slate on Saturday, April 4, when it hosts EIVA Tait Division rival George Mason at 4:00 p.m. in the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center.
Article courtesy of Juniata athletics.