By Jack Milewski, GoPSUSports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Consistency is often an aspect that all coaches and teams strive for over the course of a season. More often than not, consistency leads to success, no matter what level you are playing at. In the case of Penn State men's volleyball this season, consistency will be the key for success as the 2017 season continues to roll along.
Four games in and Penn State has put together an even 2-2 record, with splits in a pair of back-to-back weeks of competition on the road. Among the mark, the Nittany Lions' two losses have come against UCLA and Ball State. For Penn State, in its losses and even in its wins against USC and Fort Wayne, sustaining long stretches of high level play, has been reason for concern.
"I thought against USC, we were great in some sets and not so great in others," head coach Mark Pavlik said. "I loved our resiliency in that match, but we were very up and down."
That early season inconsistency can be expected from such a young group, as the Nittany Lions are looking for a multitude of freshman and sophomores to step up and carry the workload. That sign bodes well for the future, as Penn State has already started to settle in to new roles during the first two weeks.
"We've seen improvement," Pavlik said. "We obviously want more but we know that it will be a process and the results we have seen so far have been good."
For the Nittany Lions, the consistency aspect will come with time. Pavlik believes that one of the only ways to gain that consistency is by competing against the tough opponents Penn State has scheduled early this season. The Nittany Lion's have two upcoming battles against Loyola Chicago and Lewis that will certainly test them once again. Pavlik believes that they will need everyone on board in order to beat the two teams.
"They are both very physical teams and they play hard all the time," Pavlik said. "I think that it will be another good opportunity for everyone in our group."
The one thing that is evident with this group is that it is just that, a group. Not one player will be able to win games for the Nittany Lions, but that is the furthest thing from a negative. Pavlik has praised Penn State's depth again and again early on in the season.
"We have incredible depth," Pavlik said. "Everyone on the team will be looked to to contribute in some way and if someone is struggling, we have the next man up mentality where another player will be ready to go."
Penn State is set to take the court again Thursday, hosting Loyola Chicago at Rec Hall, before welcoming Lewis Friday. First serve for both matches is set for 7 p.m.