No. 1 Penn State Grounds No. 13 Ball State, 3-1
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team downed No. 13 Ball State in four games (30-20, 24-30, 30-19, 30-26) Friday night in the Lions' home opener at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions improve to 4-0 while the Cardinals fall to 0-2.
"Overall, I think our offense is coming along nicely," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "Joe (Sunder) struggled a bit tonight but we're going to have to live with that as he figures out his consistency. As a team, we served well ... 10 aces in four games is pretty good. It will take awhile into the season for the team to learn how to hold their rhythm and how to get back into a rhythm if they're mis-firing. The season is young, we're going to be alright."
Senior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) led all players with 15 kills on .407 hitting as junior middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) tallied 14 kills on .650 hitting and junior outside hitter Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) contributed 13 kills. Senior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio), redshirt freshman outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) and redshirt freshman setter Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) all provided six kills as the Nittany Lions attacked at a .314 clip as a team.
Goas directed the offense with 45 assists as sophomore libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) picked up a season-high 14 digs. Price and Sunder both posted five digs while Goas and Sweitzer notched four apiece.
Penn State outblocked Ball State, 11.0 to 10.5. Holt led the squad with six blocks as Lipsitz added in five, Price posted four, Sunder added in three and Goas and Sweitzer recorded two each.
The Nittany Lions dominated the service game, racking up 10 aces while allowing the Cardinals four. Price recorded four aces as Holt and Sunder notched two each and Sweitzer and Lipsitz both posted one.
Eric Schulte led Ball State with nine kills on .615 hitting in two games as J.D. Gasparovic recorded eight kills. Ethan Pheister directed the offense with 43 assists as Billy Ebel picked up 14 digs. Pheister and Andy Nelson led the blocking front with five stuffs each.
Penn State jumped out to the early 8-3 lead to start the match before Ball State fought back to pull within three at 12-9. Kills from Sweitzer and Lipsitz along with a Price ace helped put the Lions up 19-11 and a Price and Holt block made it 23-14. Another set of kills from Price and Sweitzer pushed the Penn State advantage to 26-16 before a Sunder kill ended the game, 30-20. Sweitzer posted six kills on an errorless eight swings as the Lions hit .407 as a team.
A Ball State block by Nelson and Pheister put the Cardinals ahead 8-4 in the second game but Penn State came back to knot the score at 10-10 on a Lipsitz kill. Two ties ensued before two Gasparovic aces off the tape along with a Lion hitting error and a Cardinal kill put Ball State ahead 16-12. The Cardinals remained on top, going up 22-14 on a block by Imwalle, Nelson and Pheister. A Goas kill pulled Penn State within six at 25-19 but the teams traded points the rest of the way, with Ball State claiming the game, 30-24, on an Imwalle kill. Ball State recorded five blocks and hit .357 in the stanza while Lipsitz, Price and Sweitzer all posted three kills for Penn State in the set.
The Nittany Lions went up 10-5 in the third game on a Goas kill before a Sunder and Holt kill pushed the advantage to 16-9. The duo teamed up again to put Penn State ahead 19-10 and two Sunder aces and a Sweitzer kill pushed the Nittany Lions up 23-11. A Holt ace made it 25-15 and two kills each from Lipsitz and Price aided Penn State in taking the game, 30-19. Lipsitz and Sweitzer each posted four kills in the game.
The fourth game featured 15 ties and five lead changes as a Price kill gave Penn State the 11-8 lead. A Price kill made it 13-12 but Nelson answered for Ball State to tie the game at 13-13. A Cardinal kill from Pheister and then two aces from him put Ball State up 18-16. A Price kill and Holt ace knotted the score at 18-18 and four ties ensued before two Cardinal errors gave Penn State the 24-22 advantage. Out of a Ball State timeout, the teams traded points four times, with a Lipsitz kill putting the Lions up 28-25, before kills from Sweitzer and Lipsitz ended the game, 30-26. Lipsitz and Price notched five kills each in the set.
Penn State remains at home, hosting EIVA-foe Juniata on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall. Admission is free and Gametracker and a live stream will be available at www.GoPSUsports.com.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.
Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.