No. 2 Penn State Claws Princeton 3-0
University Park, Pa. - The second-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team increased its record to 14-0 with a three-game sweep (30-19, 30-16, 33-31) of Princeton Saturday afternoon at Rec Hall in front of 1,583 fans. The Nittany Lions move to 4-0 in the EIVA Tait while the Tigers fall to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in league action.
"Princeton is a team that knows how to scramble," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "They tip and they chase things down very well. We adjusted to that and in the third game, the group playing worked their way into it and found a way to win. I'm very proud of them."
All 14 student-athletes on the squad saw action in the match, with junior outside hitting Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y) leading the Lions with nine kills in two games and junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) connecting on all seven of his kills to hit a perfect 1.000 while sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) notched seven kills. Freshman outside hitter Thomas Pereira (Brasilia, Brazil) and redshirt freshman outside hitter Alan Mars (Rochester, N.Y.) both posted a career-high six kills while junior middle hitter Jon Sherrick (Mountville, Pa.) tallied a season-best five kills. Redshirt freshman Jason Ambrose (Barrington, Ill.) also set a new career mark with four kills and junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) notched four kills in two games. As a team, Penn State hit .366 in the match, including attacking at a .423 clip in the second game.
Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) distributed 23 assists in two games while senior setter Travis Foltz (Westlake Village, Calif.) dished out a season-high 20 assists in the third game while leading the team to a come-from-behind victory.
Penn State recorded six service aces, led by Mars with a career-high two winners, also his first collegiate aces. Murray, Anderson, Sweitzer and Lipsitz also all provided one ace apiece.
Freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) topped the defense with five digs in two games as freshman Jesse Wagner (State College, Pa.) notched four digs in the third game as libero. Sweitzer, Anderson, Murray, Foltz and Mars all chipped in two digs as Ambrose, Pereira, junior Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) and freshman Brad McCoy (Irvine, Calif.) each picked up one dig.
The Nittany Lions outblocked the Tigers, 14.0 to 10.5. Lipsitz led the way with five stuffs and Holt added four while Anderson and Mars posted three each, a career mark for Mars. Sweitzer, Murray, Foltz, Ambrose and Sherrick all added in two blocks apiece, which were also Ambrose's first collegiate blocks.
Penn State captured the 7-2 lead to start the match on a block from Holt and Murray before Princeton fought back to tie the game at 13-13. Three consecutive Lion blocks - a solo effort by Holt, a double block by Holt and Murray and another double block from Holt and Stauffer - pushed Penn State ahead 16-13 and forced a Princeton timeout. Out of the break, a Sweitzer kill and Tiger attack error continued the run, putting the Lions up 18-13. Penn State remained in control, going up 21-15 on an Anderson kill, 25-17 on a Sweitzer put-away from Del Valle and 28-18 on a Holt kill before an Anderson swing ended the game, 30-19. Holt was perfect on all five of his swings in the stanza, adding in three blocks.
The Nittany Lions again jumped out to the early lead in the second game, grabbing the 11-6 lead on an Anderson kill. The teams traded kills, with another blistering Anderson putaway from the backrow and strong serving from Pereira sparking a 6-0 Penn State run to give it the 17-7 advantage. Two Mars aces pushed the lead to 23-9 and a Sherrick kill made it 25-13. A Lion triple block from Pereira, Lipsitz and Mars gave Penn State the 28-16 advantage before a Mars and Lipsitz block and a Murray service ace off the tape ended the game, 30-16. Anderson connected on six of his seven errorless swings in the game while Lipsitz provided four blocks.
Princeton ran away with the beginning of the third game, going ahead 11-4 before an Ambrose kill and a triple block from Ambrose, Foltz and Lipsitz helped close the gap to 11-7. The Tigers remained on top but the Lions pulled within one at 16-15 on a Foltz kill. The teams traded points three times and a Princeton kill from Peter Eichler gave the Tigers the 22-18 lead and forced a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, two Mars kills cut the deficit to two at 22-20 and the squads traded kills before a triple block by Ambrose, Mars and Sherrick sparked a 5-0 Nittany Lion run to swing the momentum Penn State's way and give it the 26-23 lead. After an exchange of points, Princeton kills from Eichler and Carl Hamming trimmed the Lion lead to one at 27-26. Consecutive Tiger blocks put Princeton back on top, 29-28, but a Mars kill knotted the score at 29-29. Eichler and Pereira traded kills and a Lion block from Foltz, Pereira and Sherrick made the score 31-30. Eichler responded with a kill, only to be answered by one from Mars to put Penn State ahead 32-31. A Pereira kill of the block ended the game, 33-31.
Penn State travels to East Stroudsburg on Wednesday before returning home to host EIVA foe Saint Francis on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.
Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.