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volleyball-men-d3 flag | February 22, 2014

DIII Roundup: Juniata starts conference play with sweep

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata cruised to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-18) win against Eastern Mennonite on Friday night in its Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) home opener. The Eagles earned 10 services aces to Eastern Mennonite's zero, marking the first time this season the Eagles serve receive was flawless. Juniata (11-2, 1-0 CVC) will play two more matches at home tomorrow. The Royals dropped to 4-5 overall, 0-1 in CVC play.

"Serve receive has been a focus through this off period," head coach Kevin Moore said. "We have the offensive options, but we need to make sure we're putting ourselves in a position to utilize them."

The Eagles' attack was led by junior Alex McColgin who finished with a team-high nine kills. Sophomore Matt Elias ran the offense and collected a match-high 26 assists. Juniata dominated at the net, earning 11.5 team blocks to the Royals 4.5. McColgin picked up a match-high six blocks with sophomore Chad Albert right behind him at five, respectively.

Juniata never trailed by more than two points in the matchup. The Eagles hit .450 to set the tone in game one and never looked back.

No. 1 New Paltz State 3, Cairn 1

NEW PALTZ, NY -- New Paltz State ran its winning streak to 10 matches on Friday night at the Hawk Center, but it wasn't necessarily easy in defeating Cairn 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-13, 26-24) at the Hawk Center.

The Highlanders gave the No. 1 Hawks their best shot, but a resilient New Paltz team made just the right plays at just the right time to improve to 17-1 on the season. Cairn drops to 4-7.

The deciding fourth set was replete with many twists and turns, and if not for a timely late set crosscourt kill from senior outside hitter Brian Smith, the match might have went to a fifth set. In the fourth, New Paltz could never fully escape Cairn. The set was tied nine times, leading to a dramatic 24-24 situation. The Highlanders, in fact, held a 19-16 lead following a New Paltz attack error. The Hawks came back, though, and took a 20-19 lead coincidentally enough, on four consecutive Cairn miscues.

The Hawks pulled ahead 22-20 on the last of a match-high 15 kills from middle block Christopher Husmann, but two New Paltz errors in a row tied the set 22-20. The Hawks had match point at 24-23, but a service attempt sailed long for 24-24 tie. Brian Smith answered with a huge kill on the next exchange and a Cairn attack error on the next possession provided the Hawks with a hard-fought 26-24 fourth set and match victory.

No. 2 Rivier 3, Emmanuel 1

BOSTON -- Rivier extended its Great Northeast Athletic Conference winning streak on Wednesday evening as it took a four-set decision from Emmanuel. Rivier improves to 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the GNAC while Emmanuel falls to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in GNAC play.

Rivier battled to 25-23 and 25-19 wins in the first and second sets. The Saints then rebounded and took set three, 25-19. The Raiders came from behind to pull out the fourth and deciding set, 25-20, for the 3-1 match win.

The Raiders' offense was led by Shane Spellman, who hammered down 11 kills. Markuson finished with 10 kills, six digs, five blocks and a pair of aces. GNAC Rookie of the Week Tyler Blank dished out 34 assists to go along with his six digs in the win.

No. 4 Springfield 3, No. 6 Santa Cruz 1

SPRNGFIELD, Mass. -- Led by senior Ryan Malone, Springfield picked up a critical four-set win against UC Santa Cruz in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic on Friday night. Set scores in the match were 25-22, 25-15, 23-25, 25-21.

In a matchup of two of the top independent programs in Division III, Friday's result could prove to weight heavy when the field is selected for the NCAA Division III Championship this upcoming April. The Pride improve to 12-6 in the win, while the Banana Slugs even their record to 7-7.

It also marked the fifth-consecutive year that Springfield has won a match in the Classic, which is regarded as the premier men's collegiate tournament on the East Coast.

No. 5 Nazareth 3, No. T14 Stevenson 1

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Nazareth earned a 3-1 victory against Stevenson on the road in the Baruch Volleyball Invitational Friday night. Scores were 25-15, 13-25, 25-22, 25-23.

Sophomore outside hitter Tim Zyburt lead the Golden Flyers with 12 kills, junior middle Luke Lawatsch followed closely with nine kills, and outside hitters sophomore Grant Levermore and junior Brody Cord each landed six kills. Junior setter Nick McDonagh amassed 36 assists.

In addition to his nine kills, Lawatsch earned six blocks in the victory against Stevenson.

The Golden Flyers are now 7-3 overall.

No. 11 Elmira 3, No. 7 Baruch 0

NEW YORK-- Despite being down 23-24 in the first set, the Soaring Eagles scored three consecutive points to take the first set 26-24. With both teams tied up at 15 apiece in the second set, Elmira scored four consecutive points to take control of the set and proceeded to cruise to a 25-20 win. With a 23-15 lead in the third set, the Bearcats went on a 6-1 run but it would not be enough as Nerney put down the last kill to end the match with a 3-0 victory. Gelenitis, once again, led offensively with nine kills while Mike Ellison tallied seven in the win. Vellutato lent his helping hand with 28 assists while Rob Shade led defensively with 10 digs. Andrew Johnson posted three block assists and one solo block in the victory.

No. 8 Lakeland 3, Milwaukee Engineering 0

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Tim Robbins led the way with 14 kills as Lakeland overcame slow start in each of the first two sets to sweep Milwaukee Engineering in three sets Friday night at the Woltzen Gymnasium.

The Muskies improved to 9-0 this year against Division III opponents and won the first meeting between the two schools. Lakeland also won its Continental Volleyball Conference opener, while MSOE dropped to 3-7 overall and 0-1 in the CVC.

The Muskies trailed in the later stages of the first set and early in the second set but eventually found their way, winning both sets. Robbins had 12 of his 14 kills in the first two sets and finished the match with a sterling .650 hitting percentage with just two errors in 20 attempts.

Matt Stolz also helped the team come alive, checking in during the second set and sparking the team with six kills, seven digs and three service aces. He paced the team in digs and aces and also hit .450 with his six kills coming with just one error in 11 attempts.

Alec Redlich also added 10 kills and Dayton Erickson finished with 31 assists. The Muskies hit .321 as a team with 42 kills and just 16 errors in 81 attempts

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