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No. 6 Nittany Lions Freeze Ramblers in Rec Hall

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By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Although the thermometers outside read temperatures in the single-digits, the Nittany Lions heated things up inside Rec Hall on Tuesday night. Sixth-ranked Penn State made it two-straight wins on its home floor with a sweep of Loyola-Chicago.

8194285.jpegIt was another team effort from Penn State as the squad hit .494 on the night and recorded a collective five service aces against the Ramblers.

Head coach Mark Pavlik said that he's not surprised that the Lions played as well as they did as he said the team had three great practices leading up the match.

"I thought once we got rolling, we started to hit a real nice offensive rhythm," said Pavlik. "Anytime you can side-out 72 percent through an entire match is going to put you in an entirely good position to win."

Pavlik was happy with the way the Lions created opportunities in transition, and said that once they got comfortable in system the rest of the game really fell into place.

"Eventually we got into a great serving rhythm and we were knocking them off of the net," said Pavlik. "Our guys did a great job with the block."

Inside a complete team performance, five individual Lions hit .556 or better, including match leaders Tom Comfort and Peter Russell who each recorded 10 kills. Aaron Russell followed close behind with another eight.

The three have been the go-to options for Penn State during the month of January, and have been doing so much work that their head coach compared them to the likes of a busy factory.

"They're now known as the new sweatsuit business - Russell, Russell and Comfort," said Pavlik.

After the opening five matches of the season, Comfort leads Penn State offensively averaging 3.39 kills per set. But the Russell brothers are close behind, and they're neck and neck at that.

The younger sophomore Aaron Russell is coming in at 2.95 kills per set, just a hair better than his older brother Peter Russell's 2.94 average. But Peter said that at the end of the day, he and his brother are concerned about helping each other more than anything.

"There's a little bit of sibling rivalry but ultimately we're on the same team and it's fun playing next to each other," said Peter Russell.

Pavlik said that it doesn't matter whether or not the two have the same last name. Healthy competition is something that he said he always likes to see.

"Good players find ways to make people around them better and if they're brothers, great - if they're not brothers, great," said Pavlik. "I think they're doing what they're asking them to do and I think they're just going to keep getting better."

The match was just the second of what will be an eight-game homestand that the Lions are set to carry out to start this 2013 season. Next up, Penn State welcomes Sacred Heart on Friday at 7 p.m. for its first conference match of the season.

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