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Jan. 18, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 6 Penn State men's volleyball team (3-1) opened their home slate with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18) win against 12th-ranked Lewis (1-5). Sophomore Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.), the Mike Anderson Player of the Match, had a match-high 18 kills to aid Penn State to the win.
Behind Comfort, sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) posted nine kills, while junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) posted eight. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 43 assists and Aaron Russell had a team-high two aces. Redshirt freshman Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Comfort each had 12 digs, while Peter Russell recorded 10. Senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) led the Lions with four blocks.
The Nittany Lions finished the night with a .195 hitting percentage while totaling 51 kills, four aces, 54 digs and 9.0 total team blocks. The Flyers hit .154 with 45 kills, three aces, 48 digs and 17.5 team blocks.
Lewis grabbed a 5-3 lead to start the first set, but kills from Turko and Comfort tied it up at 5-5. The pair then teamed up for a block to give Penn State a slim 6-5 lead. The score tied three more times before back-to-back Flyer errors gave Penn State a two-point edge, 10-8. Two straight Lewis kills knotted it at 10-10, but the Lions fired back with kills from Aaron Russell and Hammond and an ace for a 13-10 lead. Lewis fought back to tie the set at 13-13 before eventually taking a 15-14 lead. A service error by the Flyers let Penn State meet Lewis at 15-15, but a PSU error gave the Flyers an edge. The set remained close with neither team breaking away until a solo stuff by Aaron Russell and a Lewis error pushed the Lions up by two, 19-17. Lewis called a timeout and pounded two kills to make it 19 all. The score tied another three times until a PSU block and a Lewis error had Penn State at set point, 24-22. Lewis used its final timeout, but Peter Russell closed out set one for Penn State with a kill for a 25-22 win.
The second frame was close from the start and it wasn't until midway through the set that Penn State began to break away with a 12-9 lead. Lewis called a timeout and another Flyer error gave the Lions a four-point lead, 13-9. The Flyers came within three, 15-12, but Penn State maintained control even when the Flyers narrowed the gap to one, 18-17. Penn State called a timeout and kills from Turko and Comfort helped Penn State to a 20-17 lead. A 3-0 run by Lewis tied it at 20-20, but Comfort pulled Penn State out on top with a kill. A Lewis block tied it again at 21-21, however a putdown by redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading Pa.) and a Lewis error had the Lions leading, 23-21. Lewis called a timeout and came within one twice more before an error ended set two in Penn State's favor, 25-23.
Lewis jumped out to a 4-1 lead to start the third stanza, but Penn State responded with a 4-0 run to take a 5-4 lead. The lead changed hands three times before Penn State moved ahead by two, 10-8. The Nittany Lions' lead was short-lived as the Flyers capitalized on two straight PSU errors to tie the set at 10 all. Through the middle of the set the score tied five times until back-to-back Lewis kills moved the Flyers in the lead, 17-15. Lewis' lead grew to three, 19-16, forcing a Penn State timeout. Penn State was unable to slow Lewis' momentum as two errors helped the Flyers move ahead by four, 21-17. A Penn State timeout failed to faze the Flyers who used a 3-0 run to move into set point position, 24-18. A service error by the Flyers and a double block by Seifert and Hammond moved the Lions within four, 24-20. It proved too little, too late as a Lewis triple block gave the Flyers a convincing 25-20 set three win.
The fourth and final set began much like the others with neither team taking a strong lead early. Penn State finally gained some momentum with a 3-0 run for a 10-6 lead. Lewis called a timeout, but Penn State continued its run with four straight points for a 14-6 advantage. Penn State maintained at least a six-point lead until another 3-0 run, including two Comfort kills, had the Lions ahead by nine, 19-10. Lewis used its second timeout and pulled within six, 20-14. A kill from Peter Russell and a solo stuff by Turko increased the PSU lead to eight, 22-14. Lewis didn't give up and used a 4-1 run to move within five, 23-18. Penn State took a break and ran away with the set after two Flyer errors for a 25-18 victory.
On Saturday, Jan. 19 the Nittany Lions host their annual alumni event in the South Gym. Action between the alums and current Nittany Lions is set for 3 p.m. Penn State continues its home schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 22 against Loyola-Chicago at 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.