No. 2 Men’s Volleyball Toppers No. 6 Juniata in four sets advances to the national semi-finals

HOBOKEN, NJ (April 20, 2024) – Graduated student Percy Bickford finished with a team-high 10 kills as No. 2 Stevens Institute of Technology men’s volleyball team defeated No. 6 Juniata College 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 25-15) Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at Canavan Arena.

Graduated student Connor Feulner finished with nine kills and seven blocks and classmate Louden Moran flirted with a triple double with 37 assists, eight digs and a season-high six blocks for the Ducks, who will make their direct trip to the national semifinals next weekend in Dubuque, Iowa. The four-set win extended the Ducks’ winning streak to 30 as the team improved to 33-1. The game also capped off the Ducks’ home campaign, where the team went 17-0 for the third straight year and extended the program’s winning streak in friendlies to 54.

Tyler Goldborough finished with a match-high 21 kills to lead Juniata, whose season ends with a 26-7 record. Stevens has won the last twelve meetings in the all-time series, including all three matchups this season – all of which were decided in exactly four sets.

For their efforts in both rounds of the Hoboken Regional, Bickford, Feulner and Moran were named to the All-Region Team. The Ducks’ trio was joined by Goldborough and teammates Reese Ganter and Luke Hoffman. Springfield center Chris Rouleau completed the seven-man team.

Stevens was able to control with an efficient hitting performance and strong play at the net. For the 24th time this season, Stevens finished with an attack percentage above .300 (.341) and produced a total of 16 team blocks – the most for the program since March 6, 2021 at Misericordia. Conversely, Stevens held Juniata to just .168 for the match, the fourth-lowest total for Juniata this season, and the Ducks closed the match by forcing the Eagles into the same number of kills and errors (10) in the final set.

The rundown

  • Stevens took control of the match from the opening set. Feulner converted a Moran pass for the first point of the game. Graduated student Nathan Lancia followed by a solo block from a Tyler Phillips attack to account for the second point. Stevens scored the first five points of the game and seven of the first eight to take an early lead.
  • Juniata climbed back into the game with four straight points, but the Eagles couldn’t get closer than two points over the rest of the frame. An exchange of three-point runs gave the Ducks a 23-16 lead and Fullner converted a Bickford pass for his second kill of the night to close the set.
  • The second set saw the most back-and-forth between the teams as Stevens and Juniata combined for eight ties and three lead changes. Goldsborough was almost perfect ahead of Juniata who had five kills on six swings without error (.833), but Bickford was slightly better, converting six of his seven attacks (.857), while Feulner was a perfect 3 for 3 from the point of attack.
  • Juniata appeared to be closing in on a win in the second set after Ganter Phillips nailed a kill to give the guests a 23-20 lead. However, the resilient Ducks scored the final five points of the frame to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Four of the points came from junior Tyler Christensen on the service line, while Bickford and Feulner rebuffed a Phillips attack to provide a big boost. Bickford would convert a Moran pass to end the frame.
  • Juniata delivered his best performance in winning the third set, producing 16 kills compared to just eight for the Ducks. It was Goldsborough who again paced the Eagles, converting six kills, while six different players had a kill in the frame for Stevens. With the season on the line, Juniata scored seven of the first 10 points and 12 of the first 17. A pair of Juniata errors brought the Ducks within six at 18-12 and a late Stevens run allowed the Ducks to score four straight points , three on blocks, to pull within two, but an attack error ended the frame.
  • Just like in the opening set, Stevens led from wire to wire in the final set to close the match. The Ducks scored the first four points of the set, two of which came on blocks, including a nifty solo block off a Chris Mellor strike from Moran. Stevens hit .500 in the final frame and made only five total errors of any kind in the frame. Feulner, Lancia and junior Koby Sherman led the efforts in the final set with three kills each, while Moran had four total blocks. With a healthy lead, a double block from Moran and classmate Christopher Varseveld closed out the win.

Top performers

  • Christensen had both Ducks’ aces.
  • Junior Libero Jesse Knuckles finished with a match-high nine digs.
  • Sophomore Tyler Hoke totaled seven kills and four blocks.
  • Moran averaged 8.75 assists per set during the postseason.
  • Stevens has hit at least .316 in each of the last nine games and the Ducks are hitting .364 in the postseason. Conversely, the Ducks have held their last 14 opponents under .200.

For the opponents

  • Goldsborough served a match-high five aces.

Around the Mid-Atlantic Conference

  • No. 7 NYU 3, No. 1 Southern Virginia 1
  • No. 8 Vassar, No. 3 Wentworth 2
  • No. 4 Cal Lutheran 3, No. 5 Loras 2
  • NJCU 3, Ramapo 0 (ECAC)
  • Rutgers-Newark 3, Saint Vincent 0 (ECAC)
  • Rutgers-Newark 3, NJCU 1 (ECAC)

Next one

  • No. 2 Stevens heads to Dubuque, Iowa for the national semifinals hosted by Loras College. The Ducks face No. 4 California Lutheran University on Friday, April 26. The Kingsmen defeated Loras College to win the Dubuque Regional. The teams have met just once in their respective histories, with Cal Lutheran earning a five-set win on March 29, 2019 at Canavan Arena.

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