No. 4 Penn State Downs No. 11 Hawaii, 3-1


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Honolulu, Hawai'i - The fourth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team opened the season with a win, defeating No. 11 Hawaii in four games (21-30, 30-24, 30-20, 30-18) Thursday night at the Outrigger Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii. The win marks the first time in program history that the Nittany Lions have defeated the Warriors in back to back matches, as Penn State swept Hawaii last year in the Outrigger Invitational.

Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all players with 21 kills as junior Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) set a new career high with 15 kills. Sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) fell just shy of his personal best with 14 kills on an errorless 18 attacks to hit .778 while junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) posted nine kills on .412 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .288 clip while holding Hawaii to .136 hitting.

Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) dished out 56 assists and fell just shy of a double-double with nine digs as freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) provided 12 digs in his first collegiate match. Anderson recorded eight digs as junior Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) posted seven digs. The Nittany Lions outdug the Warriors 40-31.

Penn State also claimed the blocking battle, 16.0 to 13.0, led by Lipsitz with eight and Murray with a career-high-tying seven, including two solo efforts. Stauffer posted a career-high four blocks as Anderson, Holt and Sweitzer all chipped in three stuffs. Sweitzer also led the team with a career-high-tying three service aces.

Jim Clar led the Warriors with 15 kills and Jacob Schkud chipped in 10 kills. Sean Carney dished out 38 assists and Ric Cervantes led the defense with nine digs. Schkud and Matt Rawson each chipped in five blocks.

Back to back Penn State blocks, one from Stauffer, Lipsitz and Murray and another from Sweitzer and Lipsitz, helped the Nittany Lions take the early 4-1 lead to start the match. Hawaii pulled within one at 6-5 aided by a block and a kill but Penn State maintained the slight advantage, going up 11-8 on consecutive Lipsitz put-aways. The teams traded points before a Warrior kill and ace pulled them within one at 12-11. After two more exchanges of points, Hawaii claimed the next four points on three kills, a Lion error and an ace to take the 16-14 lead. The squads traded scores twice and two Penn State errors and a Warrior ace forced a Nittany Lion timeout, down 20-16. Out of the break, the teams traded points before a Penn State attack error and three consecutive Hawaii blocks pushed the Warrior lead to 25-17. Two Anderson kills countered but a Lion service error ended the game, 30-21. Lipsitz led the Lions with five kills on an errorless six swings to hit .833 in the contest.

The second game remained even early on, with Penn State going up 7-6 on a Murray solo stuff. Hawaii evened the score at 8-8 with two kills and a Lion triple block from Lipsitz, Murray and Stauffer put Penn State back on top at 9-8. After a Hawaii kill to tie the game at 9-9, three ties ensued before a Sweitzer ace, a Hawaii attack error and another solo Murray stuff gave the Nittany Lions the 15-12 lead heading into the television timeout. Out of the break, the teams traded points three times and an Anderson kill out of the backrow gave Penn State the 19-15 lead and forced a Hawaii timeout. Out of the break, the squads exchanged errors and a Lion triple block from Sweitzer, Lipsitz and Stauffer put Penn State up 21-16. But three Lion errors in the next four points allowed the Warriors to pull within three at 22-19. A Sweitzer kill pushed the lead to four at 24-20 and after an exchange of points, another Sweitzer kill pushed the Lion lead to five at 26-21 to force a Hawaii timeout. Out of the break, a Warrior attack error and a block by Lipsitz and Murray gave Penn State the 28-21 advantage before kills from Sweitzer and Stauffer aided the Lions in claiming the game, 30-24.

Penn State jumped out early in the third game, going up 5-2 and then 8-3 on blocks by Holt and Anderson. A Holt kill made it 12-6 and two Lipsitz put-aways aided the Lions in taking the 15-9 advantage. A Sweitzer ace pushed the lead to 18-10 and kills from Anderson and Holt along with a Murray and Lipsitz block put Penn State up 21-13. Consecutive Lipsitz and Anderson kills extended the Lion lead to 10 at 25-15 and put-aways from Sweitzer and Holt pushed the score to 29-19 before another Sweitzer kill ended the game, 30-20.

Kills from Anderson and Lipsitz and two Hawaii errors aided Penn State in taking the 4-1 lead to start the fourth game. An Anderson rollshot kill to the middle of the floor and a Murray and Lipsitz block maintained the advantage at 9-7 and four Hawaii errors in the next five points put Penn State ahead 14-9. Two Anderson kills aided the Lions in taking the 16-12 lead and a Sweitzer put-away made it 20-15 but consecutive Hawaii kills, one after a long rally, pulled the Warriors within three at 20-17 and forced a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, a Lipsitz kill, an Anderson and Lipsitz block that ricochet off the Hawaii attacker and a Warrior attack error pushed the Lion cushion to six at 23-17. The strong serving by Stauffer continued out of a Hawaii timeout, aiding in an Anderson kill following an impressive rally, along with a Lipsitz and Sweitzer block and a Lipsitz kill tot make it 26-17. Consecutive Anderson kills, one following a Murray dig of a hard line shot, pushed the score to 29-17 before a Hawaii service error ended the game, 30-18. Penn State ended the game on a 9-1 run.

The Nittany Lions continue play in the Outrigger Invitational, taking on No. 3 UCLA on Friday, Jan. 4 at 4:00 p.m. HT (9:00 p.m. ET). Penn State then faces Ball State on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:00 p.m. HT (9:00 p.m. ET) to close out action on the islands. The Nittany Lions open the home season on Friday, Jan. 12 against Lewis at 7:00 p.m. ET at Rec Hall.

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Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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