No. 4 Penn State Outlasts No. 3 Long Beach State

3/15/2008

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-Long Beach, Calif. - Four players reached double-digit kills as the fourth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team outlasted No. 3 Long Beach State in five games (30-18, 27-30, 30-28, 29-31, 15-12) Saturday night at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. The Nittany Lions improve to 21-1 while the 49ers fall to 17-3.

Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) were named to the Active Ankle/Long Beach Guesthouse Classic Asics All-Tournament team, along with tournament MVP Paul Lotman and Dustin Watten of Long Beach State, C.J. Macias of IPFW and Adiel Tiedjop of Cal Baptist.

Anderson led Penn State with 24 kills as junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) contributed a career-high 20 kills. Holt posted 11 kills on .588 hitting while sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) notched 10 kills. As a team, the Nittany Lions attacked at a .375 clip for the match, including hitting .708 in the first game, connecting on 17 of 24 swings without an error.

Murray directed the Penn State offense with a season-high 61 assists and added in a personal-best 11 digs for his third career double-double while freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) picked up nine digs and Anderson and junior outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) both recorded five digs.

Penn State claimed the battle from behind the service line, tallying seven aces to Long Beach State's three. Sweitzer provided three winners while Holt and Anderson each posted two.

The Nittany Lions also came out on top of the blocking battle, 14.0 to 10.0. Holt led the way with a career-high-tying nine stuffs and Anderson chipped in a season-best seven blocks while Murray recorded five blocks and Lipsitz posted four.

For Long Beach State, Lotman led the way with 29 kills and Dean Bittner posted 27. Mike Klipsch dished out 62 assists and Watten topped the defense with seven digs. Dan Alexander headed the blocking list with four stuffs and also had all three of the squad's service aces.

Penn State roared out of the gates in the decisive fifth game, taking the 6-1 lead aided by a Holt and Sweitzer block, a Holt kill, a Sweitzer ace and a triple block from Holt, Anderson and Murray. The Nittany Lions remained in control, going up 10-3 on a Lipsitz and Murray block and Holt ace. After an exchange of points, a Bittner kill sparked a 3-0 Long Beach State run to pull it within four at 11-7. A Lipsitz kill halted the run and a Lion attack error was followed by a Sweitzer kill. A Lotman kill and solo block were answered by an Anderson put-away off the assist from Del Valle to give Penn State the 14-10 lead. Two Bittner kills trimmed the Lion advantage to two at 14-12 but out of a Penn State timeout, a Holt and Anderson block ended the game, 15-12.

An Anderson kill gave Penn State the 10-6 lead to start the match but back to back Long Beach State service aces pulled the 49ers to within two at 11-9. The teams traded points twice before kills from Anderson and Sweitzer, a Holt and Murray block and a Beach attack error pushed the Nittany Lions ahead 17-11. The squad exchanged service errors and a Holt ace coupled with a Lipsitz kill extended the lead to 20-12. After three more exchanges of points, another Anderson kill and a Holt and Anderson block put Penn State up 25-16. Consecutive Anderson put-aways, a Murray kill and a Sweitzer ace made the score 29-17 before a Holt kill ended the game, 30-18.

Two Anderson service aces gave the Nittany Lions the 14-10 lead in the second set before Long Beach State fought back to knot the score at 16-16 on a Bittner kill. The teams traded points 10 times, with an Anderson kill knotting the game at 26-26. A Penn State service error and a Beach kill from Josh Riley gave the 49ers the 28-26 advantage. Out of a Penn State timeout, a Long Beach State block by Alexander and Riley pushed it up 29-26 before a Holt kill brought Penn State within two at 29-27, but a Lotman kill ended the game, 30-27.

Long Beach State came out of the gates on fire in the third game, taking the 8-3 lead on a Bittner and Alexander block. Penn State slowly chipped away at the gap, pulling within four at 14-10 on an Anderson kill. The teams traded points four times before back to back kills by Anderson and Lipsitz, along with a Long Beach State attack error, trimmed the 49er lead to three at 19-16. Out of a Long Beach State timeout, the squads exchanged kills twice before a Lotman kill and Beach block by Bittner and Fletcher Anderson put the 49ers up 23-18, forcing a Penn State timeout. Three consecutive Anderson kills out of the break pulled the Nittany Lions within two at 23-21 and following a Long Beach State timeout, two unforced 49er hitting errors coupled with a Lion triple block from Holt, Anderson and Murray gave Penn State the 24-23 lead. A Bittner kill evened the score at 24-24 but consecutive Sweitzer kills put the Lions back on top, 26-24. The teams traded service errors and Long Beach State pulled within one at 27-26 on a block by Riley and Alexander. However, Penn State went up 29-26 following 49er service and attack errors. A Lotman kill coupled with a Nittany Lion hitting error trimmed the Penn State lead to one at 29-28 but a Lipsitz kill ended the game, 30-28.

A Nittany Lion block by Stauffer and Lipsitz pulled Penn State within one at 9-8 in the fourth game. Long Beach State maintained the slight advantage, going up 14-11 on a solo Riley block and 15-12 on a Riley kill. An Anderson kill brought the Lions within three at 18-15 but consecutive 49er kills from Bittner and Lotman gave Long Beach State the five-point advantage at 20-15. A Sweitzer kill and Beach attack error out of a Penn State timeout brought the Nittany Lions within three at 20-17 and the teams traded errors before a Bittner kill coupled with a Penn State hitting error pushed Long Beach State ahead 23-18. The 49ers returned the favor with two errors of their own and an Anderson kill trimmed the gap to 23-21. The squad exchanged points twice and two Penn State errors gave Long Beach State the 27-23 lead. A 49er service error was quickly rectified by a Lotman kill to give the Beach the 28-24 advantage. But Penn State responded in kind with a Sweitzer kill and a solo Lipsitz block to pull within two at 28-26. A Long Beach State block from Anderson and Bittner was followed by a 49er service error, and kills from Sweitzer and Anderson knotted the score at 29-29. A Nittany Lion error put Long Beach State on top and a Bittner kill gave it the game, 31-29.

Penn State has a week off before heading to Juniata on March 25 and then returning home to host No. 11 Ohio State and No. 7 Ball State on Friday and Saturday, March 28-29 at Rec Hall at 7:00 p.m. each night. The match with the Buckeyes will be televised live on WPSU-TV in the State College area and the contest with the Cardinals will be Senior Night as the last regular-season home contest of the year, honoring Luke Murray and Travis Foltz for their contributions to Penn State and the men's volleyball team. Admission to both matches 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 www.GoPSUsports.com.

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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