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Jan. 13, 2011
HONOLULU, Hawaii - The Penn State men's volleyball team (0-1) opened the 2011 season with a 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 22-25, 18-25) setback to No. 8 UCLA. The Nittany Lions are making their 17th appearance in the Outrigger Invitational.
Redshirt junior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) led the Nittany Lions with a career-high 24 kills on .341 hitting. Sophomore Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) was second on the team with 12. Redshirt junior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 43 assists, while senior libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) had a team-high nine digs. Sophomore Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) led the team at the net with four blocks.
Penn State registered a .252 attack percentage, while the Bruins (3-1) hit .352. The Nittany Lions totaled 50 kills, three aces, 28 digs and 6.0 team blocks. UCLA recorded 47 kills, nine aces, 23 digs and 7.5 team blocks.
UCLA took a 3-1 lead to start the match and maintained control early. Penn State stayed closed and capitalized on two Bruin errors to tie the set at 10-10. UCLA used a 5-1 run for a 15-11 lead and maintained at least a three-point edge until a service error and a Sunder kill had the Lions within two, 18-16. Two straight Bruins kills had UCLA leading by four, 20-16, but another service error and a Hendries kill had PSU behind by just two, 20-18, and UCLA calling a timeout. The Bruins increased their lead to five, 23-18, but Penn State fired back with a 4-0 run to cut UCLA's lead to only one, 23-22. After a second UCLA timeout, an ace by junior Tor Covello (Yardley, Pa.) had the score knotted at 23-23. A UCLA attack error put the Lions in set-point position. Sunder closed out the set with a kill for a 25-23 win.
Penn State opened set two taking a 4-1 lead, forcing UCLA to take a timeout. The Bruins fought back to tie the set at 6-6. The score tied twice more before kills by Sunder and senior Alan Mars (Rochester, N.Y.) moved PSU ahead by two, 10-8. The Lions' lead grew to three, 12-9, before a 5-0 run put UCLA in front for the first time in set two, 14-12. UCLA extended their lead to five, 17-12, before a Sunder kill cut off the run. After a UCLA kill, two putdowns by Comfort had the Lions behind by only three, 18-15. However, two straight Bruin kills had UCLA back up by five, 20-15, and Penn State calling a timeout. Two consecutive service aces increased the Bruins' lead to seven, 22-15. The Bruins notched three errors to bring PSU within five, 23-18, but despite a kill from freshman Jace Olsen (Manhattan Beach,Calif.) UCLA claimed set two, 25-19.
The third frame started out close with neither team developing a substantial lead. UCLA finally took control with a 4-0 run for a 10-6 lead. The Nittany Lions continued to trail the Bruins until a 3-0 run, with a kill and an ace by Mars, tied the score at 15-15. A double block by Sunder and Hendries moved Penn State into the lead, 16-15. UCLA registered a kill to tie the stanza at 16-16, but a Sunder kill put PSU back in the lead, 17-16. The score tied twice more before a kill and an ace by UCLA put the Bruins up by two, 21-19. A 3-1 PSU run knotted the score at 22-22 and forced a UCLA timeout. Sunder and Comfort each had a kill in the run, while Mars tallied a solo block. Two PSU errors and a UCLA service ace secured set three for the Bruins, 25-22.
The fourth stanza started out much like the third with UCLA using a 4-1 run to take a 10-6 lead. UCLA's lead grew to five, 13-8, and by midway through the frame the Bruins were maintaining control with a 15-11 advantage. Sunder kept Penn State from falling too far behind, tallying four kills to keep Penn State within four, 19-15. The Bruins used a 5-1 run to increase their lead to 24-16. A kill by Sunder and a UCLA attack error held the Bruins in match-point position. However, a PSU service error would give the Bruins the victory, 25-18.
The Nittany Lions take on Outrigger Invitational host Hawaii on Friday, Jan. 14 at 12 a.m. ET. Penn State closes out the tournament on Saturday, Jan. 15 against Ball State at 9 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2011 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets at Hershey