HUNTINGDON, Pa. – The Wells College men's volleyball team posted a five-set loss to Cairn University before falling in straight sets to the host Eagles of Juniata College Saturday afternoon on the road. Wells (7-14) has lost six-straight matches following play on Saturday while Cairn finished the day with a 10-14 record. Juniata (17-3), the No. 4-ranked team in NCAA Division III, according to the AVCA Division III Coaches' Poll, netted their 17th overall victory of the year.
Wells lost to Cairn in five sets after falling into a 2-0 hole via scores of 25-21 and 25-17. The Express, however, rebounded to post set score victories of 25-22 and 25-18 before dropping the decisive fifth set, 15-11. Boasting one of the strongest home-court advantages in NCAA Division III, Juniata made quick work of Wells, 25-17, 25-15 and 25-20.
Junior John Farruggia (West Winfield, N.Y.) led the way with 14 kills and only three errors on 38 total attacks. Sophomore Alex Battey (Palmdale, Calif.) struck for 11 kills alongside freshman Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) while classmate Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) set up 32 kills for the Express. Four players racked up double-digit digs, led by freshman Jack Battumur (Denver, Colo.) and his 14 digs.
The Express, already trailing by a 1-0 margin, allowed Cairn to hit an impressive .542 in the second set after pounding home 14 kills while committing only one error on 24 total attacks. Down 2-0, Wells posted 13 kills in both the third and fourth sets to force a dramatic fifth set against the Highlanders.
In the fifth set, a bad set by Cairn's Alex Lower placed the Express up by an 8-7 margin. Both teams battled to an 11-11 tie before taking complete control of the match. A Wells player hit into a double block before Josiah Buss hammered home a clutch kill from Lower to take a 13-11 lead. A kill by Colson immediately out of a Wells timeout preceded a service ace by Andy Willits to end the match. Cairn finished the match on an impressive 4-0 run to put away the Express.
Leading only twice against Juniata, the Express still gave Juniata a competitive match despite a 3-0 loss. Perdicho led the way with 10 kills for Wells while Litvin posted 17 assists. Defensively, he narrowly missed a double-double with nine digs.
Wells had their closest set in the third, leading the host Eagles by an 11-8 margin after a kill from junior J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.). Four-straight points by Juniata put the match out of reach, however, as the Eagles took the final set by a 25-20 margin. Cumulatively, Juniata hit .318 on the match, their third-straight contest hitting above the .300 mark.
The Express return to action Saturday, Mar. 14 as they face-off against North Eastern Athletic Conference opponents Hilbert and D'Youville at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, on the campus of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Marcy, N.Y.