By Jack Milewski, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Penn State, Friday and Saturday mark another big road test in the EIVA. For Nittany Lion Aidan Albrecht, the two games mean a little bit more.
Albrecht played high school volleyball at Old Bridge, located roughly 45 minutes from both Princeton and NJIT. It was at Old Bridge that w Albrecht honed his skills and began to polish himself into the player Penn State sees on the court today.
Albrecht was a two-time All-State player, earned player of the state honors in New Jersey in 2013. Last year, when Penn State made the trip to New Jersey, Albrecht had the thrill of a lifetime, playing in front of family and friends who had never seen him play before.
"Last year was definitely awesome playing in this road trip," Albrecht said. "It was pretty cool seeing a lot of my family and friends in the stands who had never seen me before play. It's pretty cool playing in front of so many people who helped me get where I am today."
Albrecht has been a key contributor for Penn State since his redshirt freshman season two years ago. Adding to his game, it's unique skill to be able to perform at a high level at more than one position. Albrecht has done more than that, having played three different positions for Penn State since his first season.
"I think when we realized Aidan was the player he is is when [Matt] Seifert went down with an injury a few years ago," head coach Mark Pavlik said. "He came in at a position he was unfamiliar in and played middle very well for us."
Although Albrecht is listed as an outside on the roster, his versatility has seen him play right side and middle blocker. While many people would struggle with juggling two or three positions, Albrecht has done the opposite, working well in all three places.
"My role on the team right now is basically just do whatever is asked of me," Albrecht said. "I've basically played every position so I feel comfortable taking on different roles."
Though Albrecht's role on the team this year has been slightly limited on the court, he has still produced solid numbers every time he has been called upon. On the year, Albrecht has 41 kills, 12 blocks and 20 digs. Now a redshirt junior, not only is Albrecht expected to produce on the court, there is an added expectation of leadership as well.
"During practice I feel an added sense of leadership," Albrecht said. "When I'm out there practicing with a lot of younger guys they look for me for pointers and tips. I think it's important to help them because it will pay off for both them and myself in the long run."
Pavlik says that despite Albrecht's calm demeanor and quiet personality, he is as competitive as they come when he steps on the court. What Albrecht has demonstrated in his time at Penn State is that depth and flexibility are important assets on a winning team.
"It is very nice having someone who has so much experience in a role like the one Aidan has right now," Pavlik said. "He has played more positions than anyone else at this level and there aren't many situations he hasn't seen while out on the court."Albrecht and the Nittany Lions will look to continue their hot streak this weekend. Penn State travels to NJIT Friday, Feb. 10 before heading to Princeton Saturday Feb. 11 for its first two EIVA outings on the road. First serve for both matches is set for 7 p.m.