Huntingdon, Pa.- The Juniata men's volleyball team split a pair of matches, sweeping #13 Nazareth (25-23, 26-24, 25-13) before dropping the second match to Mount St. Joseph's (20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-27), Friday evening at Memorial Gymnasium.
Nazareth took an early 1-3 lead, but JC quickly responded and a kill from Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, Pa./Derry Area) pulled JC even at 6-6. Trailing 10-12, the Eagles scored four straight points to take a 14-12 lead. Nazareth stayed close as they pulled within one at 24-23. A service error gave the Eagles the opening set.
The second set saw Nazareth lead for most of the set, and Juniata tied the score six times throughout before they grabbed the lead back, 21-20, on an ace from Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge). The Golden Flyers pulled even at 24-24, but another Peterson kill and a Nazareth attack error gave the Eagles the second set 26-24.
Juniata opened the third set with an 11-4 surge and never looked back. With the score at 5-3 two kills from Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) and two Nazareth errors keyed the run. Juniata wound up winning the final set 25-13.
Peterson had 19 kills, four digs and two block assists, Bender had seven kills and Vasinko added six kills and six digs. David Hibner (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary) added two kills, two solo blocks and three block assists while Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) had 31 assists.
The second match saw MSJ take an early lead, with Juniata tying the score at 10-10 with an attack error and again at 11-11 with another attack error. Later, a kill by Joe Fick (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) got JC within two at 14-16, but they got no closer the rest of the way as the Lions took set one 20-25.
The teams went back and forth early on in the second, with MSJ taking an 4-8 lead before a block by Fick brought JC even at 11-11. Later, a kill from Peterson followed by a block by Hibner and Peterson made it 16-14. The Lions retook the lead at 20-21 but the Eagles responded with a block and kill from Fick followed by a block and kill from Peterson to give JC set point at 24-21. MSJ staved off losing for a point, notching a kill before Vasinko notched the final kill of the set, 25-22.
Juniata took early leads at 3-0 and 7-4, but MSJ rallied and took the lead back at 7-9. An error and an ace from Alex Schultz (Farifax, Va./Paul VI Catholic) brought JC even at 9-9. MSJ scored eight of the next nine points to go up 10-17 and Juniata called timeout. A kill from Fick made it 18-22, but the Eagles never got any closer as the Lions took set three, 21-25.
The fourth set saw the teams trade points early, with MSJ jumping ahead 9-12. A kill from Stephen Ash (Elk Grove, Calif. / Cosumnes Oaks) and three straight Vasinko aces handed JC a 13-12 lead. A kill from Fick made it 21-18 as the Eagles tried to force a decisive fifth set but MSJ had other ideas. The Lions tied the score at 21-21 and took the lead at 23-24. A kill from Vasinko, followed by a Lion kill gave MSJ a narrow lead before a big swing from Peterson knotted things at 25. Back to back blocks by MSJ ended the match at 27-25.
Fick had 17 kills, eight digs and three solo blocks, Peterson had 15 kills, five digs and two block assists while Vasinko had 14 kills and seven digs. Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) had 47 assists while Chris Heron (Las Vegas, Nev./Arbor View) had 11 digs.
The Eagles return to action tomorrow at home against Queen's University (N.C.)