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Jan. 31, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Using a balanced attack, the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (4-2) knocked off non-conference foe, Mount Olive (1-5) in straight sets (25-14, 25-13, 25-19) Friday evening in Rec Hall. With the victory, the Nittany Lions improve to 7-0 all-time against the UMO, without surrendering a single set to the Trojans.
Redshirt freshman Spencer Sauter led the squad with a career-best performance, posting a team-high seven kills on eight errorless swings. Sauter also added three blocks, on the way to earning his first Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match honor.
Freshman Joey Farrell also registered a career-high performance in his collegiate debut. He followed closely behind Sauter with six kills on .444 hitting, adding two digs and two blocks.
Junior Aaron Russell, senior Peter Russell and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway all tallied five kills apiece. Callaway anchored the defense with a team-high six blocks, including two solo stuffs, while redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert tallied five.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hammond paced the offense to a season-high .406 hitting efficiency, dishing out 26 assists. The Penn State defense also limited the Trojans to a -.038 attacking clip.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to a comfortable four-point lead early in the first set, 9-5, led by kills from Callaway and Seifert. The Trojans responded with a kill to trim the advantage back to three, 9-6, but Penn State used a 6-2 streak to bolster the lead to seven, 15-8. Mount Olive answered back with a 3-0 strike, helped out by PSU attack errors, to arrive within four, 15-11.
Powering forward, the Nittany Lions used a 5-2 stretch, capped off with a kill and a solo block from Callaway to extend the lead to 20-12, forcing the Trojans to use their final timeout of the frame. Following the break, Aaron and Peter teamed up for consecutive kills to make it 22-12. Mount Olive halted the momentum with a kill and a block, but PSU used a 3-0 run to close out a 25-14 win in the opening set.
Penn State charged out to a 9-1 advantage in the second set, behind two kills from Peter and Goodell. A service error temporarily broke up the rhythm, but PSU got back on track with a 4-1 streak that secured a double-digit lead, 13-3. From there, the Nittany Lions did not let the advantage dip below 10 points, as Penn State cruised to a 25-13 win in set two to go up 2-0 in the match. Coming off the bench, Sauter and Farrell combined for five kills, led by three from Sauter, in the second half of the second stanza.
PSU shot out to another hot start in the third set, using a 4-0 run for an early lead. Another service error held up the momentum, 4-1, but the Nittany Lions quickly doubled their advantage, using a 6-4 stretch to go up, 10-5. Building on the lead, Penn State put together an 8-4 run, capped off by back-to-back kills from Nugent to extend the advantage to nine, 18-9.
Mount Olive managed to stop the strike with a kill, 18-10, but the Nittany Lions held off the pressure, despite the Trojans creeping within seven, 22-15.
After trading kills, Mount Olive used a block and a PSU error to move within five, 23-18, but junior Kyle Gregan and Sauter followed with a block to make it match point, 24-18. The Trojans held off one attempt, before a service error locked up a 25-19 win in the third set to complete the sweep.
Next up, Penn State welcomes in-state foe Saint Francis to the court in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions and the Red Flash will square off at 8 p.m. in PSU's EIVA opener.