Greetings from Happy Valley. This past weekend we faced two EIVA opponents in the Pioneers of Sacred Heart, and the Crimson of Harvard. Friday night brought us the Pioneers, from watching video and what we focused on in practice we knew we couldn't take them lightly even though we had beaten them in three games back in February. The match started out with a couple big points and a huge block by Jace Olsen and Aaron Russell; we had practiced a lot of blocking in practice during the week and with Sacred Heart's slower offense we were confident we could win the blocking battle. Sacred heart never gave up though and had a few players that could put some heat behind the ball, it may have been a three game sweep but each game was hard fought. In the end though we won the battle on the net, played hard, and came away victorious. Saturday night we had Harvard in Main gym with the chance to clinch home court advantage for the EIVA tournament, expectations were high, and we were looking forward to the challenge. The first set started off with our side gaining an early 13-7 lead, only to see Harvard storm back to win the set 25-20. The second set had Harvard winning 25-21; we hadn't been down 0-2 to an EIVA opponent all year and went into the locker room knowing we would have to go 5 sets if we wanted to clinch home court. After the halftime speech from Pav and the coaches we came out and showed our home crowd what we could do by easily beating the Crimson in the third, fourth, and fifth sets clinching home court advantage. It was a great ending to a stellar match. We never had a doubt in our minds we'd be in the position we are now and look forward to the rest of the season. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for all your support, we'll see ya back in Rec April 21st for our final EIVA match of the season.
Recently in Men's Volleyball Category
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For seven consecutive matches the Penn State men's volleyball team was away from State College and playing as the visiting team. On Friday night, the Nittany Lions snapped their road streak and returned to their home court confinements in Rec Hall where they swept Sacred Heart.
Thanks to a productive offense that swung at a .380 clip, collectively, and a defense that tallied a season-high 15.5 blocks, the Lions sailed to their 12th conference win of the season. With just two EIVA matches left to go play this season, Penn State remains atop the leader board in conference standings with an undefeated 12-0 mark.
The Nittany Lion defense made it tough for the Pioneers to score as it
relied on the big single-, double- and triple-blocks throughout the night. Penn
State held Sacred Heart to just a .085 offensive average for the match and won
25-19, 25-22 and 25-19 respectively.
Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said that the blocking effort that his team put up all evening was just about as good as it has been all season long.
"You saw our best blocking defense tonight," said Pavlik. "I think what you saw what were the results of the work we've been doing in the past couple of weeks with it."
The freshmen kept things especially tight at the net as Aaron Russell led the pack with eight block assists and Nick Goodell followed with another six. Pavlik said that the team has been focusing on their block technique and really concentrating on the block during practices especially for the past three or four weeks.
The head coach said that one of those freshmen in particular has really turned his game around since the beginning of the 2011-'12 season.
"Goodell, who at one point in the fall we were wondering if he could block an intersection with a car, he did a really nice job on our block and defense," said Pavlik.
While Goodell laughed at his coach's critique, he too agreed that his improvements and his team's have been a huge help defensively at the net.
"It's just all starting to pay off," Goodell said of the blocking game. "Even in practice, not just getting blocks but just touching the ball and keeping it on our side. It's just hard work really paying off."
Penn State led the way offensively as well with the help of redshirt senior Joe Sunder's match high 13 kills hitting .409 for the evening. Sunder said that his performance on the court has not been as productive as he would have liked in recent matches, and that his match high hitting was a good reminder of what he can do.
"It felt like something I haven't really done in a while," said Sunder. "Tonight was the first time in a while that I felt confident coming out strong."
Sunder said that it was an especially nice feeling to be able to wake up in his own bed and catch a short ride to Rec Hall for the night's match rather than have to meet in a hotel lobby and ride a charter bus to an opposing team's gym.
Pavlik agreed, and said that the idea of having home court advantage is something that usually gets taken for granted.
"That is one of the underrated joys of coaching," said Pavlik. "Waking up in your own bed after long road trips and on game-day saying, you know everything can be in a normal routine."
The Nittany Lions will host Harvard on Saturday night in hopes of a 13th conference win, which would make Penn State the owner of the EIVA title yet again and allow the team to host both the conference semifinals and finals at the end of the month.
Hello Penn State Fans!
This past weekend we took on Princeton and George Mason. On Friday night Princeton gave us more than we had expected, but we squeaked out a five set victory. It would be an understatement to say we didn't play our cleanest volleyball the first three sets of the match, but Princeton was taking advantage of our mistakes. After being down two sets to one and facing match point in the fourth set, it was amazing to see how easy the game of volleyball is when you step on the court and just have fun and compete. Joe Sunder and Jace Olsen came up with some crucial swings in the fourth set and we overcame seven match points to take the set 37-35. As long as I've been at Penn State, I think this was the highest scoring set I've been a part of and probably the most that we've been pushed by an EIVA team. We might not have played our best or prettiest match, but sometimes it's good to be punched in the mouth and see how you will respond. Princeton played a great game, but it was good to see us fight through the match when things weren't going our way and come out on top.
On Saturday we headed down to Virginia to take on George Mason. It was interesting to see how we were going to respond after playing a long five set match the night before. Once again, our opponent came out firing and rode the support of their loud crowd to a first set victory. After that we responded, by quieting their crowd and taking control of the match. We went on to beat Mason in four sets.
After a long month away, we finally return home to Rec Hall this weekend. Our countless number of hours spent on the bus seemed to take its toll on our bodies, and we will enjoy not having to travel for a week. As much I love being cooped up on a bus with the guys for hours upon hours, I can safely say I will never have to endure a bus ride again! It's been fun experiencing snowstorms, broken down busses, and nauseating smells from the back of the bus for the past four years, but I can't say I will miss it. However, I am saddened to say that I will no longer be greeted by or hear Kurt, our bus driver's motivational speeches as he has kick started our journey to many victories.
I look forward to seeing all your faces in Rec Hall. Until next time...
Ryan Wolf #14
Greetings once again from the road!
We are headed North on Route 15 back to PA from Fairfax, VA where the Nittany Lions defeated the George Mason Patriots 21-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 to move to 11-0 in the EIVA. Today Harvard defeated NJIT which puts them currently in second place in the EIVA with a record of 8-2. The Nittany Lion magic number is 2: any combination of Nittany Lion wins and/or Harvard losses will clinch the EIVA top seed for us. Since we host Sacred Heart and Harvard next weekend we are looking to clinch then!
Tonight's match against the Patriots had me concerned about our recovery from last night's five gamer against Princeton. It seems like we have been running on fumes and we were back on the bus this morning at 11:30 AM for the three-and-a-half hour trip to Fairfax. The Patriots had returned last weekend from their spring break trip to the west coast but had defeated Saint Francis yesterday in four games. I was hoping they would be feeling the effects of their travel but their scores against SFU indicated nothing of the sort.
We rolled into Fairfax about 3:30 PM and stopped for a pre-game meal at Jason's Deli. Our trainer extraordinaire, Kelly Saxton, gave the Deli her blessing as a great place for a pre-game meal...besides, it offered free ice cream. I was in!
We headed to the gym and managed to get 45 minutes of passing and serving and the guys seemed to be in great spirits and ready to play. In GMU's new Recreation and Athletic Center, the volleyball gym is well lit (a bright contrast from Dillon Gym at Princeton) and a great facility in which to compete.
Game one began with GMU seemingly blocking everything at which we tried to swing! With GMU up 10-13 they had already recorded five blocks! Our offense just didn't have any pop and we certainly weren't giving GMU much to worry about. The best we could do was to get to 19-22 but GMU wouldn't let us get any closer and a Mason kill gave them game one 21-25. Mason stuffed seven balls in game one. My concern about recovery after last night's match seemed accurate.
Game two began with PSU gaining a 5-1 lead. We stretched it to 15-8 with a solid sideout game and we were starting to create opportunities with our serving and blocking that we were finishing with our transition game. The closest Mason could get was 23-18. An Aaron Russell kill ended the game 25-19 and tied the match at one game apiece.
Game three had the Nittany Lions pick up right where we left off in game two. Our blockers were forcing GMU in altering their shots and our defense was doing a great job picking them up and we were putting them away. All of sudden the lethargy of the first half of game one was completely gone. It was replaced with a very enthusiastic energy that kept us dictating to the GMU crowd their silence and the Nittany Lion faithful in attendance kept their support loud and often. It appeared that we were carrying our crowd with us. We found ourselves up 20-13 and not allowing Mason to mount any type of sustained effort put us up 24-16 when a Sunder kill ended game three 25-16.
Game fours always make me apprehensive on the road. If we take too much for granted we could be in a game five with a revitalized GMU team and crowd. We needed to keep doing what we were doing. We reminded the team that 10-10 was a good score for the first twenty points and just keep the pressure on them with our serving and passing. Well, we were at 11-11 when things started to unravel for the Patriots. It all started with a very poor pass by us which we had to desperately throw back over the net. We threw it high but it was only five feet off the net. It was an overpass that had GMU salivating...until the GMU hitter miss-timed his swing and hit it straight down - on his side of the net! This hitting error was followed by two more GMU hitting errors and we had separation at 14-11. That was all we needed as GMU would come no closer. At 24-20, a GMU serving error closed out the match 25-20.
We have finished our seven game road trip at 5-2. 5-0 in EIVA road matches and can clinch hosting the EIVA semifinals and finals next weekend! Our guys found some revitalizing formula somewhere in game one. Jace Olsen entered the game and gave us good passing and delivered some key kills but he certainly brought his own brand of energy. Match leaders for the Nittany Lions were Aaron Russell (Kills - 12; Blocks - 5), Olsen (Kills - 12), Goas (Blocks - 5; Aces - 3) and Sunder and Curry (Digs - 11). PSU out-hit GMU .76 to .194; out-blocked them 9 to 8 (remember they had seven in game one!); out-dug them 38 to 33 while both teams served five aces!
One of the best things about the Princeton - GMU road trip is the number of PSU MVB alums who make the trek to either gym. Last night in Dillon Gym we had visits from Bo Hunkins and four of five his boys. We saw Jose Rubayo and Fred Gozum. Tonight it was Jay Stauffer, Ricky Mattei , Marcus Neumann and John "Griz" Philips to name but a few! Thanks to all who manage to greet us in gyms across the country in Blue-and-White. We truly appreciate your support!
Now we get to enjoy the friendly confines of Rec Hall for next weekend's matches against Sacred Heart and Harvard. It would be great to have a big crowd to help us clinch the 2012 EIVA regular season championship! We'll get the guys some rest this week and have them ready to go next weekend!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
All the best,
Pav, Colin, Jay and the guys
Greetings once again from 95 South!
We are heading down to George Mason after a great five game match at Princeton last evening which we managed to pull out 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 37-35, 15-12!
It was a match that had everything a fan would want to see and certainly every emotion a fan would want to experience...and it didn't matter which team that fan supported. This match had great personal and collective efforts. It had stretches of great volleyball and moments of great controversy but more than anything else it had a team which showed it claws and bared its fangs when they realized we weren't playing great. Princeton didn't go away; in fact, they kept the pressure on us through most of the match.
Game one started like so many of our matches at Dillon Gym. We had a good many PSU faithful in the stands and the Nittany Lions with a 9-5 lead that forced a Princeton timeout. Princeton closed to 17-13 but then three PSU hitting errors made it 17-16. Princeton tied it at 21 but two more hitting errors by the Nittany Lions gave Princeton a 23-21 lead. Sideouts were exchanged with the final sideout belonging to Princeton for a 23-25 win. Game one leaders for PSU were Aaron Russell (Kills - 5; Aces - 1), Goodell and Peter Russell (Blocks - 1) and Curry (Digs - 5). PSU hit .212 while Princeton hit .429.
Game two had PSU up 6-3 on Princeton's first timeout. The Tigers tied it at 12. A Goas overpass kill from a Turko serve made it 18-16. That was the separation we needed as the teams traded sideouts and a Tiger serving error gave PSU game two 25-22. Leaders for the Nittany Lions were Comfort (Kills - 6) Peter Russell (Blocks - 1; Aces - 1), Goas (Blocks - 1) and Curry (Digs - 4). PSU hit .320 while the Tigers hit .269.
Game three once again had Princeton take the first timeout as we were up 8-4. Once again, like a bad movie that you've seen on every cable movie channel at 1 AM, Princeton tied and went ahead 15-14. PSU went up 22-21 on a Peter Russell kill but then two Princeton blocks plus a PSU hitting error gave them the 22-24 lead. A Comfort kill gave us the serve at 23-24 and we dug a ball but Princeton stuffed our swing to tie for a 23-25 win. Game three PSU leaders were Comfort (Kills - 4), Aaron Russell (Blocks - 1), Turko (Aces - 1) and Curry (Digs - 6). PSU hit .077 while Princeton hit .276.
Game four's first timeout was taken by - guess who - Princeton! Yep, they were down 8-5. Kinda getting the "been there, done that" feeling yet? You no doubt knew that the score would be tied at 14! Neither team could pull away. From that point on the game was tied twenty more times! Princeton served at 23-24 but a Sunder kill fought off the first of what was to be eight match points. Sunder put away five of the eight. PSU had one game point early at 25-24 after a Russell kill but the Tigers fought back to the advantage and held it from that point on the game was tied twenty more times! Princeton served at 23-24 but a Sunder kill fought off the first of what was to be eight match points. Sunder put away five of the eight. PSU had one game point early at 25-24 after a Russell kill but the Tigers fought back to the advantage and held it until a Goodell/Turko stuff gave PSU the advantage at 34-33. Then Sunder came through one more time at 36-35 with a kill to force a game five with a 37-35 game four win! Leaders for PSU were Sunder (Kills - 14; Aces - 1), Goodell, Goas, Aaron Russell and Turko (Blocks - 1) and Olsen (Digs - 4). PSU hit .288 while Princeton hit .349.
Game five once again had PSU gain the early advantage as Jace Olsen started serving. Jace started us off with a 6e as Jace Olsen started serving. Jace started us off with a 6-0 lead aided by -0 lead aided by three Princeton hitting errors, an ace and two Sunder kills. "Great, "I remember thinking sarcastically as Princeton called timeout at 4-0, "Princeton has us right where they want us!" The guys were the ones reminding each other that it was far from over before I could. Princeton, true to form, brought it back to 10-8 on a PSU hitting error, but an Olsen kill gave the serve to Turko who responded with an ace. The next Princeton swing sailed wide and PSU had a 13-8 lead! The teams traded sideouts for a 14-10 score, but, as Lee Corso, ESPN College Football talking head would say, "Not so fast, my friends!" A Princeton kill gave them the serve at 14-11. They then stuffed our first swing and then our next swing to make it 14-12. In our timeout, Edgardo had the offense spelled out. He then went out and delivered a great set to Aaron Russell off of a tight pass which Aaron planted for the 15-12 win! Game five Nittany Lion leaders were Aaron Russell (Kills - 3), Turko (Aces - 1) and Curry (Digs - 3). PSU hit .286 while Princeton hit .111.
It was a match that was easy to see what we didn't do well but it was the first EIVA match in about six or seven years that we came back to force a game five and win it. Recently, at least in the last five years or so, we had lost similar matches in similar situations in four games. Last night we just competed. It seemed we finally relaxed when we were in the extended part of game four. At that time we went back to just doing what we needed to do without trying to do more. Three outstanding efforts deserve special mention. Jace Olsen came off the bench and handled the Princeton float serves as only he can. He had a couple of crucial kills and digs but Jace's six serves to start game five off really gave us the jump we were looking for! Connor Curry had a personal high of 21 digs. The vast majority of them were settable leading to point scoring opportunities. He made some tough digs and his passing was solid. Then, there was Joe Sunder. Joe was hitting .048 after game three, but then he delivered the most clutch performance of his year with 14 kills in game four! And five of those to fend off match points! Joe hit .524 in game four when his team needed him the most for the longest stretch! Match leaders for PSU were Sunder (Kills - 25; Points - 26), Goodell, Goas and the brothers Russell (Blocks - 2), Turko (Aces - 2) and Curry (Digs - 21). Princeton out-hit us .299 to .227 (but we out-killed them 77 to 63) and out-blocked us 15.5 to 6.5. We out-aced them 7 to 2 and out-dug them 43 to 33.
This was a great EIVA match! I have no doubt that Princeton will be giving us all we can handle in another year or so. They are young and talented and will be fun to play. Coach Sam Shweisky is doing all the right things and if he can warrant a little more administrative support for the team they will be making a lot of noise. Between them and Harvard the EIVA is starting to develop some young talent. We must be ready for some serious barn-burners in upcoming years...and certainly in the upcoming weeks as the EIVA playoffs take shape. So, if you missed this one you missed a good one! Now we have GMU. They are sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot and no doubt they will be as desperate as Princeton was against us. It'll be a typical Patriot - Nittany Lion match: closely fought with a wild crowd. Can it be any more fun?? I'll fill you in on the way back home tonight!
All the best,
Pav, Colin, Jay and the guys
Greetings from the second seat behind the bus driver!
We are headed southwest from Princeton to Fairfax to take on GMU tonight. I apologize for the absence of my updates over the past three weeks. I wish I could claim jet lag but even I have recovered from our spring break trip. So allow me to update you on our team's last three weeks.
Our Spring Break trip to Pepperdine and USC was a disappointment results-wise. We lost a tough five game match at Pepperdine where we suffered through our worst serving match in a long time. If any part of your game is off against a Marv Dunphy Waves team it'll cost you. It certainly did us; however, when you look at the fact that in game five we were down 8-10 I thought we certainly had the opportunity to win it. However, the next night against USC we went down in flames as the Trojans swept us. Our offense was not very good. We were creating scoring opportunities but couldn't make enough count against a tough Trojan block and defense. The more opportunities we created the more we pressed to score and the worst our offense became. We came away from those two matches convinced that we could serve and pass with anyone but our transition game needed work.
It was great to see Marv Dunphy and his Pepperdine staff and Bill Ferguson and his USC staff. The coaching fraternity in the men's game is awesome. We all want to win badly but after that final point goes down there is such respect and genuine friendship which puts the competition into a very healthy realm!
We flew back to State College on Saturday, March 10 so not only did we lose the three hours coming back east but we also lost another hour due to Daylight Savings Time change. At 51, I am finding those lost hours take a toll on me more so than they did ten to fifteen years ago. I need those hours!
The next weekend we travelled up the mountain to Loretto, PA to Saint Francis University. This match completed our first half of the EIVA schedule. SFU was proving to be a very good blocking team and I was hoping we would be recovered from the west coast trip. We ended up sweeping them and did it with good serving and defense. Our work in our transition game paid off handsomely as we were getting some outstanding swings in point scoring opportunities. We had successfully navigated the first half of the EIVA season with a 7-0 record.
We then took to the road again. Last weekend we headed out to Newark, NJ to take on NJIT and Rutgers-Newark. We defeated NJIT in four games but they have shown improvement since we last saw them at Rec Hall in early February. It was the first time many of our guys have played in their gym. It is a smaller gym with ceiling trusses that run parallel to the net. So there are areas above your court where care must be taken to keep a ball under control. But we took care of the Highlanders and headed to Tops Diner. Tops was introduced to us by long-time friend Ron Larsen when he coached Rutgers-Newark. It has been a regular stop for a number of years now.
The next day we faced Rutgers-Newark. They had a coaching change late in the summer and had only eight guys on the roster. After their spring break they were down to seven as one of the guys had been hit by a car while home for the break. We played well enough to get the win and we headed back to State College.
We seem to be stuck in a mid-season slump. Not a terrible slump but one that shows sign of fatigue. Don't get me wrong. We are getting very good effort from this team but we aren't quite executing with deadly precision. We will keep working on that and I'll not throw in a 3 week delay on the updates again this year!
All the best,
Pav, Colin, Jay and the guys
After a good week of practice and a lot of work on things that showed we needed to improve after our matches against Pepperdine and USC, we headed on a short drive down the road to Saint Francis. We spent a lot more time preparing for what we expected to see on the other side of the net, and we also focused a lot more on executing the scouting report. I think that the match proved to show our improvement on the things that we set out to improve.
The drive there was short and enjoyable, the bus didn't break down at any point. We had our serve and pass then had some sandwiches. After that and a little free time we were ready for the match. We handled them pretty easily in three sets. We quickly boarded the bus and headed back to State College. On the ride home we were able to watch the Penn State wrestling team win their second national championship in two years! We were also able to watch them win three individual titles! Overall it was a good weekend. However, we're still not satisfied with our level of play and were trying to get better every time we walk in to the gym so we're able to win the last big one.
Stay classy State College,
Ian Hendries #12
What's up, Penn State Nation?
It was a tough week to be a PSU Volleyball fan as our trip out west didn't go as planned. As always though we learned a lot about ourselves and are making changes as we look forward to playing those teams in May. Off the court, again we look to make things interesting as is the usual for our team (if you are a regular to our blog you'll know what I'm talking about).
The trip out there went off without much trouble, the regular 4 a.m. wake up call to catch a six hour flight back home (Calif.) to play Pepperdine and USC, being a student athlete isn't always that glamorous. But the flight went off without incident besides the duet snoring performance from our own Coach Pav and lovely Joe Sunder, which I think impressed the majority of flyers rather than upset them. Once we landed we proceeded to our hotel in Commerce, Calif., which was a great hotel located next to an outlet mall so we had plenty to do in our off time from shopping to the pool.
Coach Jay was out of it for the first couple days of the trip with a cold, so being the natives of Southern California the duty of navigator fell upon Connor and I. Safe to say we made it without trouble aside from the typical traffic in .LA. For those who've never been, the rumors are true. Once at the Galen Center, the USC gym, our first practice went over better than expected after traveling most of the day and we were rewarded with In-N-Out for dinner. In-N-Out for those who don't know is a burger and shake place much like Five Guys, and after much debate I think we came to the decision that In-N-Out trumps Five Guys every time!!!
Wednesday after our practice we decided to head to the beach after our serve n' pass in the morning, which went pretty well. The guys decided they wanted to catch some rays and drove down to my house in Hermosa Beach and I think they were surprised at how close I lived and by the end of the day I don't think any of them wanted to leave, especially our trainer Kelly who took off on the beach cruiser to terrorize the strand on the bike. We made it a point to get the guys in the water for those who had never been in the Pacific before, which was like an ice bath at 56 degrees. That night we had a taco dinner at my aunt's house, where Tommy and my uncle made friends. They talked about the Buffalo Bills throughout the night, which then led to my uncle calling out "go bills" every time Tom touched the ball on the court. We came back that night prepared for the trip to Malibu in order to face the Pepperdine Wave's the next day.
This is where our trip started to go wrong. In Malibu our team enjoyed the area, had lunch after serve and pass at a local cafe where Edgardo was star searching or trying to find anyone famous. After we headed to the gym for our match. The gym at Pepperdine is an older, more rustic gym with lights littered though out the ceiling with no real order. Tt was as if they threw in lights wherever seemed fit. This led to a change in serving, which might have led to our dismal serving performance against the Wave's. I'm not going to get into the match, if you looked at the boxscore or happened to listen to the match, you know how it went. But coming out of the match we learned a lot about ourselves and what we rely on as a team. It was safe to say we weren't happy with ourselves and neither was the coaching staff. After the match, Connor, our food connoisseur, of the team took myself, Aaron, Tor, and Nick to Sergio's, a local taco bar next to our hotel. It was an interesting little restaurant, which was pretty much take-out only which had the hottest salsa I've ever had. This coming from a true hot sauce fan (Tapatio if you haven't tried it, is a team recommendation).
Friday was another beautiful day in paradise. It was 80 degrees where we were couldn't ask for anything better on a game day in Southern California, and the good weather must have provided the spark for USC because they came out strong that night. The match against the Trojans is one I think our team would like to redo. It was probably the worst team volleyball we played all year, with the exception of Connor, our libero. He played lights out both nightsm, which was sweet because he did so in front of his friends and family, always a good thing. But other than that I don't think there's much to say, again look at the boxscore and you'll see why.
The return trip, unlike the first, was a little more disastrous. Finding the car return seemed to be a problem as was the encounter of rising rap superstar the Notorious P.A.V., coming out with his first single later this month. I can't tell you the details but I hear "Switching Lanes" is going to be a big hit. Once we got the car returned and made it through security at LAX it was an easy trip until we got to Philly, where we almost had to leave three behind due to the plane being overweight... thanks to Aaron. We decided as a team to let the guys on in exchange for all 16 of our bags, your welcome Connor and Joe (those were the two we would've left behind). But we made it back at a reasonable hour and I never thought our locker room couch looked as comfortable as it did that night. It was another eventful spring break with the Penn State men's volleyball team.
Excerpt from the Notorious P.A.V single "Switchin' Lanes"
I do this all the time, this is my life dude
Got my big bird tat
Hope you all had a good spring break, glad to be back in Happy Valley
-Jace Olsen #11
The week in practice was a long yet very effective one. We did a lot of out of system and two-pass drills. Not exactly the easiest for hitters, but on Saturday it turned out to be well worth it. We hosted Ohio State for the first time since our 3-1 loss last year in the 2011 NCAA National Semifinals. Though we beat Ohio State 3-0 in Columbus in our season-opener earlier this year, we knew they would be a much tougher opponent. Ohio State was figuring some things out early in the season and we prepared to play a team that was hungry for a win, especially against us.
We came out very strong in the first two sets and beat Ohio State pretty handily and found ourselves leading the match 2-0 in front of a pretty large home crowd despite the fact that it was Spring Break for our students. Set three was a very close one as we battled OSU for every point in the set. Our Penn State crowd showed the dedication that only a Penn State crowd could despite a very close loss in set three. Again in set four our crowd showed its dedication, but we could not pull out a victory as Ohio State forced a fifth set. During the fifth set, Ohio State found itself leading at the switch 8-7. At the switch, the Ohio State crowd began to applaud their team's efforts. However, the Penn State crowd began to cheer us on. Their efforts seemed to completely drown out the Ohio State crowd and got louder and louder as the fifth set dragged on.
Our crowd's loyalty and dedication reminded me and the team of the atmosphere that was present at last year's NCAA Final Four, which motivated us. Personally I thought to myself that "we will not lose another game with this atmosphere." Last year's loss to the Buckeyes was flat out sickening and I really think our team brought it upon ourselves to find a way to pull out a win.
We soon found ourselves down 8-11 but at the timeout, our crowd began the "WE ARE...PENN STATE!" It was as loud as I've ever heard that chant as it echoed throughout Rec Hall. Our team came out of the time out focused and motivated to give our crowd something to cheer about. We rallied back and ended up winning the fifth set 15-13 with a huge kill from junior Tom Comfort to finish off the Buckeyes. The match was honestly one of the most fun matches I've ever been a part of and I have the Penn State crowd to thank for that. With the win, we swept the regular season series against the Buckeyes, and showed that Penn State has the most dedicated fan base in the country. I am proud to be part of this family. WE ARE...
Hello Penn State Volleyball Nation,
This past weekend at Rec Hall our men's team played two conference games. We matched up Friday against the Princeton Tigers and Saturday against the George Mason Patriots. This was the sixth time playing each of these teams for me. I was especially excited to play Mason to beat up on my teammate from club volleyball Andrew Dentler. Both games had a similar feeling. Our team played well in stretches, but we found it to be very difficult to maintain our high level of play throughout the match. Both matches were won in three games, but we can't say it was one of our better weekends. This weekend did help us show some of the areas of volleyball that we need to work on so that we are happy come May, for instance our blocking. Our serving is very good and it puts us in great situations, but our blocking doesn't allow us to fully capitalize on them. We will continue to work on closing the block and staying physical at the net this week in practice.
We only have one match to worry about this weekend, No. 8 Ohio State. It will be the eighth time playing them for me in the last three years. The rivalry is well known in football, but Ohio State is the only consistently ranked team we played twice a year, so for our team they are pretty much our only rival, especially considering last May. I know our team will be pumped up, and I hope the game draws the crowd it deserves. Meanwhile it is a midterm week for many of us on the team; I have two this week, along with a drill project in my machine design class, so it will be a busy one.
Thanks to all the fans following our team and coming to our games, I hope to see you at Rec Hall this Saturday
#10 Nick Turko