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Jan. 12, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawaii - The seventh-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team closed out the opening weekend of play with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-22) win against No. 10 Ohio State (2-2) in its final match of the Hawaii Outrigger Invitational. The Nittany Lions finished the tournament with a 2-1 record with a win against Hawaii on Jan. 11 and a loss to fifth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 10.
The Nittany Lions had three players post double-digit kills with sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) leading the way with 13 on .391 hitting. Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) pounded 12 kills, while senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) put down 10. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 41 assists and senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) had three aces. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a team-best 11 digs and Comfort led the Lions with four blocks.
Penn State registered a .292 hitting percentage against the Buckeyes. The Lions finished with 44 kills, seven aces, 33 digs and 5.0 total team blocks. Ohio State hit .196 against Penn State and totaled 34 kills, three aces, 31 digs and 9.0 team blocks.
The first set was close from the start, but Penn State pulled ahead near the midpoint of the set after three Ohio State errors helped PSU move ahead, 16-13. Ohio State used a timeout and fought to within one, 17-16, but soon after a Comfort kill and a Turko ace helped Penn State regain its three-point lead, 20-17. A second Ohio State timeout helped keep the Nittany Lions from pulling way. Two Buckeye kills and a block again pulled OSU within one, 23-22. Penn State used a timeout, but Ohio State pounded back-to-back kills to knot the score at 24-24. PSU regrouped in a second timeout and two straight kills from Peter Russell secured set one for Penn State, 26-24.
Ohio State took a 3-1 lead to start the second set, but an OSU error and an Aaron Russell kill had it tied up early at 3-3. The score tied six more times before a putdown by Aaron Russell and an ace from senior Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) had Penn State leading by two, 11-9. Ohio State knotted the score at 12 all, but kills from Peter and Aaron Russell moved PSU back in front by two, 14-12. Ohio State called a timeout, but Penn State's lead grew to four, 18-14, and the Buckeyes went back to the bench. Despite the break, Penn State's run continued with five straight points for a 23-14 advantage. Chen Levitan cut off the run with a kill before Peter Heinen registered an ace. A PSU error gave Ohio State its final point of the set before a Buckeye mistake and a Peter Russell kill had the Lions with a 25-17 win.
It was Penn State with the 3-1 lead in the third frame, but the Buckeyes used a 4-1 to grab a 5-4 edge. The Buckeye lead grew to three, 8-5, forcing an early Penn State timeout. The Nittany Lions continued to trail for much of the set, falling behind by as many as four points. However, a 3-0 PSU run had the Nittany Lions within one, 17-16, and Ohio State used a timeout. Ohio State maintained control briefly before an Aaron Russell kill and a block by Comfort and redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) knotted the score at 18-18. The score tied two more times, but another Aaron Russell kill and an Ohio State error had Penn State on top, 22-20. Ohio State called a second timeout, but the Buckeyes managed just two final points. Peter Russell pounded two kills to help Penn State to a 25-22 third set win.
Penn State returns home on Jan. 18 to host No. 13 Lewis. Action is set for 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.