No. 1 Penn State Cracks No. 10 Ohio State, 3-1


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University Park, Pa. - Freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) had a match-high 12 digs to help the top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team to a four-game win over No. 10 Ohio State (30-23, 27-30, 30-20, 30-19) Friday night at Rec Hall in front of 2,012 fans. The Nittany Lions improve to 23-1 while the Buckeyes fall to 12-7.

"This was a very odd-rhythmed match, especially with the serving errors," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "At the beginning of game three we started getting our offense going. Our blocking, while not terminal, channeled to our defense and I felt we had a lot of good touches. It's pretty good that we were able to overcome some frustrations and get the win."

Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led four Lion players in double-digit kills with 19 as junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) provided 15 kills. Junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) notched 14 kills on .632 hitting while sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) contributed 10 kills on .467 hitting. As a team, Penn State hit .392 while Ohio State attacked at a .267 clip.

Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) dished out 51 assists and Anderson followed up Del Valle's 12-dig effort with eight of his own. Murray and Sweitzer each posted four digs as junior outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) recorded three. Penn State outdug Ohio State, 34-14 for the match.

The Nittany Lions racked up 11 service aces in the contest, their highest team total of the season, while committing 21 service errors. Holt led the way with four aces as Lipsitz posted a career-high-tying three, Sweitzer notched two and Anderson and Murray each tallied one. Ohio State gave away 29 total points on service errors while getting back six with aces.

The Buckeyes claimed the blocking battle, 9.5 to 5.5. Lipsitz led the Lions with three stuffs as Holt, Sweitzer, Anderson and Murray all chipped in two.

For Ohio State, Brett Versen led the way with 15 kills and Robbie Klein notched 10. Daniel Mathews dished out 42 assists and Klein and Versen each tallied four digs. Mathews and Ben Spurlock both produced four blocks for the squad.

Penn State took the 13-6 lead to start the match on kills from Lipsitz and Sweitzer, a Buckeye attack error and a Lipsitz service ace. A Holt kill maintained the advantage at 17-12 but three consecutive Lion errors brought the Buckeyes within two at 17-15. Another Lipsitz kill halted the run and Penn State remained on top, going up 21-17 on an Anderson kill. A Buckeye kill and consecutive service aces trimmed the Lion lead to two at 22-20 but a Penn State triple block from Holt, Anderson and Murray gave the Nittany Lions the four-point cushion at 24-20. Out of a Buckeye timeout, the teams traded points before an Ohio State service error, an Anderson ace and a Holt kill pushed the Penn State lead to seven at 28-21 before a Stauffer kill ended the game, 30-23.

The second game remained close throughout, with back to back Lion kills from Lipsitz and Anderson giving Penn State the 11-8 lead. Ohio State fought back to knot the score at 15-15 and three ties ensued before the Buckeyes used a kill and two Nittany Lion attacking errors to take the 21-18 lead. Out of a Penn State timeout, the teams traded points three times before a Holt service ace trimmed the Ohio State lead to two at 24-22. The squads exchanged service errors before a Buckeye kill and block put it up 27-23. Three more service errors ensued and an Anderson kill brought the Lions within two at 28-26. The squads traded kills but an Ohio State kill ended the game, 30-27, in favor of the Buckeyes.

Penn State started the third game off on fire, going up 14-7 aided by two consecutive kills from Anderson and one from Holt. Another Holt put-away coupled with back to back service aces pushed the Lion lead to 18-9 and consecutive Sweitzer kills made it 22-13. Two Ohio State blocks pulled the Buckeyes within seven at 24-17 but a Holt kill halted the run. A Murray and Lipsitz block pushed the score to 27-18 before a Buckeye service error ended the game, 30-20.

A Sweitzer kill, Buckeye attack error and Murray ace put Penn State up 9-7 to start the fourth game. Consecutive Lion blocks, one from Lipsitz and Anderson and another from Lipsitz and Sweitzer, pushed the score to 12-8. Another block, this one by Holt and Sweitzer, made it 15-9 and a Sweitzer ace and Holt kill helped Penn State take the 21-12 advantage. Another Sweitzer put-away, coupled with a Buckeye attacking error, made the cushion 10 points at 25-15 and back to back Lipsitz kills extended the score to 27-16 before a Buckeye service error ended the game, 30-19.

Penn State closes out its home regular-season Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. when it hosts Ball State at Rec Hall. It will be Senior Night, honoring Luke Murray and Travis Foltz for their contributions to Penn State and the men's volleyball program. Admission is free.

Rec Hall will once again host the EIVA Championship on Thursday and Saturday, April 24 and 26. The winner earns the league's automatic berth in the NCAA National Collegiate Championship Semifinal, held on the campus of UC Irvine on Thursday, May 1. The National Championship match will take place on Saturday, May 3.

For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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