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Jan. 17, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -Junior Aaron Russell led the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (2-2) to a straight-set victory (25-21, 25-16, 25-23) against No. 14 IPFW in the Nittany Lions' home opener Friday, Jan. 17 in Rec Hall.
Russell fueled the offense with his first double-double of the season, totaling a team-high 12 kills on .429 hitting, to go along with 10 digs and three total blocks. Russell was also tabbed the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match for his performance against the Mastodons.
Senior Peter Russell followed close behind with nine kills and six digs, while redshirt junior Nick Goodell and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway tallied seven kills each.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hammond paced the PSU offense to a .322 hitting percentage, dishing out 35 assists, as well as five digs, three kills and two blocks.
Penn State and IPFW opened the match fighting back-and-forth for the first half of the frame. Tied at 10-all, a kill from Peter and an IPFW error lifted the Nittany Lions ahead, 12-10. The Mastodons battled back, using a kill and a block to even the score, 12-12. As Penn State struggled to extend the lead, the Mastodons remained close behind.
Leading by one, 19-18, later in the frame, the Nittany Lions used a 3-1 spurt to move ahead by four, 22-19. IPFW halted the momentum with a kill, but followed with a service error to put Penn State back up by three, 23-20. The Mastodons connected on another kill to cut it to two, 23-21, but two errors handed the Nittany Lions a 25-21 win in the first set.
Both teams kept it tight again in the second set, until a kill from Aaron and back-to-back aces form Hammond sparked a 4-0 streak that put Penn State up, 9-6, forcing the Mastodons to call a timeout. A PSU service error momentarily interrupted the rhythm, but the Nittany Lions continued to roll, using an 8-3 run to go up by as many as seven 17-10.
IPFW cut off the streak with a kill, 17-11, but Penn State put together a 7-3 stretch to arrive at set-point, 24-14, capped off with a kill from Goodell. The Mastodons managed to hold off two attempts before redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert locked up a 25-16 win with a kill.
Trailing by two, 6-4, following the intermission, the Nittany Lions used a quick 3-2 spurt to shave the lead to one, 8-7. The Mastodons answered with a kill to maintain the lead, but Penn State took off on an 8-2 streak to secure a four-point advantage, 15-11.
As the Nittany Lions remained in control, IPFW continued to chip away at the comfortable advantage, coming within two, 19-17. A Mastodon attack error pushed the PSU lead back to three, 20-17, but two consecutive IPFW kills followed by two Penn State attack errors lifted IPFW ahead by one, 21-20.
The Nittany Lions and the Mastodons briefly traded kills before a pair of kills from Aaron and Hammond followed by an IPFW error propelled Penn State to match-point, 24-22. A PSU error held off the attempt, but an IPFW error wrapped up a 25-23 win for the Lions in the third set, completing the sweep.
Next up, Penn State welcomes Ball State to the court in South Gym for another non-conference matchup. The Nittany Lions and the Cardinals square off Saturday, Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. on Alumni Day. Admission to the event is free.
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