No. 1 Penn State Crushes Juniata, 3-0
Huntingdon, Pa. - Behind the highest team hitting percentage in nearly five years, the top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team dispatched Juniata in three games (30-16, 30-17, 30-20) in just 64 minutes Tuesday night in Huntingdon, Pa.
The Nittany Lion improve to 22-1 while the Eagles fall to 8-10. Penn State hosts two important matches with No. 10 Ohio State and No. 7 Ball State this weekend in the Lions' final regular-season matches at Rec Hall. Admission is free.
The Nittany Lions attacked at a .631 clip (48-7-65) for the match, the best team hitting percentage since the squad hit .635 (53-6-74) against Ohio State on March 28, 2003. Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led Penn State with 13 kills on .733 hitting while junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) put down 10 kills on .412 hitting. Both junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) pounded eight kills without an error, with Holt's coming on .800 attacking and Lipsitz hitting for a .889 percentage. Junior middle hitter Jon Sherrick (Mountville, Pa.) also connected on all four of his attacks to hit 1.000.
Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the offense with 35 assists and freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) led the defense with six digs as Anderson added in five and junior outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) picked up four. Penn State outdug Juniata 21-5.
The Nittany Lions also claimed the blocking battle, recorded 10 stuffs to the Eagles' 2.5. Murray led the way with four blocks as Lipsitz and Holt provided three each and Sweitzer, Anderson, Sherrick and freshman outside hitter Thomas Pereira (Brasilia, Brazil) all chipped in two blocks as senior setter Travis Foltz (Westlake Village, Calif.) added in one to go along with his nine assists.
Penn State racked up eight service aces while only committing 10 errors. Holt notched three winners and Sweitzer posted two while Anderson, Murray and Pereira all tallied one. The Nittany Lions did not allow Juniata to record an ace.
A Sweitzer kill put the Nittany Lions ahead 10-7 in the first game and put-aways from Sweitzer and Anderson pushed the score to 19-13. Following a Lion service error, two Holt kills and an Anderson blast sparked a 9-0 Penn State run capped by a Murray, Holt and Anderson triple block to put the Lions up 28-14. A Sherrick kill ended the game, 30-16.
Penn State again took the early advantage in the second game, going up 8-3 on a block by Sweitzer and Lipsitz and 13-6 on a solo Anderson block. A Lipsitz kill pushed the lead to 20-8 and an Anderson ace, Eagle attack error and Sweitzer kill made it 24-10. A Holt kill put Penn State ahead 28-15 before an Anderson kill ended the game, 30-17.
A Pereira and Holt block started the Nittany Lions off in game three up 9-3. Another block, this one by Lipsitz and Murray, extended the lead to 14-6 and a Sherrick kill and triple block by Foltz, Pereira and Sherrick gave Penn State the 21-10 lead. A Lion kill from freshman Alan Mars (Rochester, N.Y.) made it 24-13 and another Mars put-away pushed the score to 27-18 before a Sherrick kill ended the game, 30-20.
Penn State returns to Rec Hall on Friday, March 28 for a 7:00 p.m. meeting with No. 10 Ohio State that will be televised live on WPSU in the State College area and streamed live for free on www.GoPSUsports.com. Penn State then hosts No. 7 Ball State on Saturday, March 29 in a contest that will also be Senior Night, honoring Luke Murray and Travis Foltz for their contributions to Penn State and the men's volleyball program.
Admission to both matches is free and the Friday match with the Buckeyes is also a Code Blue event, with the first 150 Penn State students receiving a Code Blue t-shirt and becoming eligible to enter the Code Blue spring semester grand prize of the free use of textbooks for the fall semester courtesy of the Penn State Bookstore, as well as 2008 football tickets. All fans will have the chance to catch t-shirts and win prizes during the intermission serving contest.
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 www.GoPSUsports.com.
Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.