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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 14 Penn State men's volleyball team defeated Coker in four sets to complete their first weekend sweep moving to 5-4 on the season.
Lee Smith led the Nittany Lion offense collecting a career high 16 kills, while Chris Nugent and Calvin Mende contributed 12 kills apiece. Luke Braswell finished with 49 assists, and Calvin Mende contributed on the defensive side of the ball totaling a career-high nine digs.
Defensively, Penn State combined for a total 12.5 team blocks with Jalen Penrose posting a team-high three blocks.
“I thought tonight’s match was a fun one to play, “said head coach Mark Pavlik.
“Coker is an up and coming program. They Bring a level of physicality that I think benefits not only us, but anyone that they play,” said Pavlik.
“The first time we faced them (set one) we didn’t really know what to expect, and I thought we did a pretty good job right off the bat,” Pavlik continued.
In the first set, Penn State tallied 16 kills, and a sideout percentage of 56 percent to give the Nittany Lions the opening set in their first matchup ever against the Coker Cobras.
Led by L. Smith's six kills, Penn State was able to go on six runs of 3-0 or greater, including a 6-0 run and a 5-0 run to take the first match in a close 25-22 score.
With the momentum on their side, the Nittany Lions opened set two on a 6-1 run. The Cobras tried to respond midway through the set closing the gap to 11-8; however, Penn State responded with another huge run, and ultimately took the second set 25-16.
The Cobras returned from intermission on a strong note, taking the third set 25-23 over the Nittany Lions, hitting a match high .625 for the set.
“Game four we got back to doing some of the things that gave us game one and two,” said Pavlik.
Penn State saw the momentum swing back in their favor during the fourth set as the Nittany Lions held Coker to a -.045 hitting percentage and a total team block of 1.0 for the set; meanwhile, Penn State posted a hitting percentage of .560 and a 5.5 total team blocks to take the final set 25-14 and the match 3-1.
Penn State returns to action Friday, Feb. 3 in Rec Hall as the Nittany Lions host Saint Francis (Pa.) at 7:00 p.m. ET in their opening match of EIVA conference play.
For more on Nittany Lion men's volleyball, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateMVBall