No. 6 Men's Volleyball Battles Past Harvard, 3-2
Jan. 26, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The sixth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team (6-1, 2-0 EIVA) earned a 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 16-25, 15-6) victory against Harvard (3-1, 1-1 EIVA). Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) and senior Kyle Mars (Rochester, N.Y.) shared the honor of Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match for their performances against the Crimson.
"The EIVA this year is the most competitive it has been in my career," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "I think both teams had stretches of really good volleyball. I'm happy with the guys who came off the bench. I can't say enough about the energy Kyle brought out. I am really pleased with the win today."
Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the Lions with 12 kills, while senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) added nine. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 37 assists and was second on the team in digs with seven. Curry tied his career-high with 21 digs and Mars tied with senior Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) with four blocks.
It was a rough match offensively for both teams with the Nittany Lions hitting .047 and Harvard at .062. Penn State posted 42 kills, eight aces, 49 digs and 11.0 total team blocks. The Crimson finished with 34 kills, five aces, 42 digs and 17.5 team blocks.
Harvard jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set before a 4-1 run by the Lions had the set tied at 5-5. The score tied seven more times before kills from Comfort and Russell gave Penn State a two-point edge, 15-13. Harvard called a timeout, but back-to-back errors by the Crimson had the Lions ahead by four, 17-13. Penn State maintained at least a two-point lead until two attack errors had Harvard within one, 21-20. Harvard was unable to tie the score and was down by two, 24-22, when it used its second timeout. Despite a kill from Michael Owen, the Nittany Lions grabbed set one on a Harvard error, 25-23.
Harvard took control early in set two, 4-1. Penn State trailed until a 3-0 run knotted the score at 7-7. Senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) tallied a kill, but a PSU error and a Harvard ace put the Crimson up by two, 10-8. Two straight Harvard errors made it 10 all before a Turko ace had the Lions on top, 11-10. Two consecutive points by the Crimson gave control back to Harvard, 12-11. Redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) tied it up at 12-12 with a kill before a PSU error and a Harvard block pushed the Crimson ahead by two, 14-12. Penn State used a timeout, but it failed to faze the Crimson. Harvard's lead grew to four, 20-16, forcing Penn State to take a second timeout. The Crimson continued to press and was soon at set point, 24-16. A service error ended the Harvard run and an ace to two solo stuffs by Mars had Penn State within four, 24-20. The Crimson called a timeout and walked away with set two, 25-20, on a kill from Nick Madden.
It was Penn State taking the lead in set three, 4-1. However, a 3-0 run by the Crimson had the set tied at 4-4. Penn State managed to break away with a kill and a block by Hendries to move ahead by four, 9-5. Following a Harvard timeout, the Crimson closed the gap to two, 9-7, but soon after a solo block by Hammond and a kill from Russell had Penn State ahead by five, 12-7. The Nittany Lions held on to at least a three-point lead until a Comfort kill sparked a 3-1 for a comfortable 17-11 advantage. Harvard headed to the bench but was unable to slow the Nittany Lion momentum. Penn State ran away with set three on an 8-3 run for a convincing 25-14 win.
Harvard wasted no time in the fourth stanza jumping out to a 7-3 lead. The Lions took a timeout and fought to within two, 9-7, with the help of two errors by the Crimson. Penn State moved within one, 11-10, soon after, but Harvard took off on a 5-0 run for a 16-10 lead. After another Penn State timeout, four errors by Harvard moved Penn State within four, 18-14. It wasn't enough though as back-to-back PSU errors began a 7-2 Harvard run that would close out the set in favor of the Crimson, 25-16.
The fifth set was all Penn State right from the start. Penn State was up 3-0 to send Harvard to the bench for a timeout. The Nittany Lions continued with four points to Harvard's one to move ahead, 7-1. After another Crimson timeout, Penn State's dominance continued as errors plagued Harvard. Four Harvard errors and an ace from sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) had the Lions within three points of a win, 12-3. Penn State's run ended on an error before two Harvard blocks had the Crimson within six, 12-6. Penn State took a timeout and didn't allow the Crimson another point. Two Harvard errors and an ace from freshman Zack Parik (Woodridge, Ill.) secured the fifth and final set for Penn State, 15-6.
Penn State remains at home hosting Pfeiffer and Mount Olive on Feb. 1-2, respectively. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. starts.
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.