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Feb. 8, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team (9-1, 3-0 EIVA) earned a convincing 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-17) win against conference foe Saint Francis (4-7, 1-2 EIVA). Redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) was honored as the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match for his performance.
"I thought it was a real good effort by us tonight," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "I think for the most part our serving had them off balance. I thought we did a great job defensively, not much fell on us. Offensively we hit .455 and I think things are starting to fall into place for us."
Seifert led the team with a personal-best 10 kills on 13 errorless swings for a .769 hitting percentage. Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) and senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) each tallied nine kills on .412 hitting. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 38 assists and sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the Lions in digs with seven. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) was second on the team with six digs and senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) was a wall at the net with four blocks.
Penn State hit .455 against the Red Flash and totaled 43 kills, six aces, 25 digs and 7.5 total team blocks. Saint Francis was held to a .133 hitting percentage and recorded 29 kills, two aces, 22 digs and 2.0 team blocks.
Penn State grabbed a 5-2 lead to start the match. Back-to-back Peter Russell kills had the Lions with a 7-3 advantage. After a service error, Aaron Russell pounded a kill before an SFU error for a 9-4 Penn State lead. Following a Red Flash timeout, a kill and an ace from Saint Francis had the Red Flash within four, 10-16. The teams went back and forth until three straight PSU points had the Lions with a comfortable 16-9 lead. SFU's Logan Patterson cut off the run with a kill, but Aaron Russell answered with a kill of his own to keep Penn State ahead by seven, 17-10. Penn State maintained at least a six-point lead until two consecutive Red Flash errors pushed the Lion lead to eight, 21-13. Three Red Flash errors and a Comfort kill helped secure set one for the Nittany Lions, 25-15.
The second stanza was close from the start, but the Lions had a three-point lead, 12-9, near the midpoint of the set. Penn State maintained at least a two-point edge until a Saint Francis kill and solo block had the Red Flash within one, 16-15. Soon after with Saint Francis still trailing by one, 18-17, Aaron Russell pounded a kill to spark a 3-0 run to give the Lions some breathing room at 21-17. Saint Francis called a timeout and answered with a 3-0 run to narrow the gap to one, 21-20. The Nittany Lions called a timeout and slowed Saint Francis as Seifert put down a kill and freshman Zack Parik (Woodridge, Ill.) notched an ace to help Penn State reach set point, 24-20. After one final Saint Francis kill, a Red Flash service error gave the second set to PSU, 25-21.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time taking control in the third set and had an 8-2 lead when Saint Francis used their first timeout. The Red Flash fought to within five, 10-5, but a Turko assisted on two blocks and pounded a kill to increase the Lion lead to eight, 13-8. Despite an SFU kill, an Aaron Russell putdown and a Turko ace kept the Lions on top, 15-7. Saint Francis didn't go away and soon three PSU errors and a Red Flash ace had Saint Francis trailing by only four, 16-12. The Lions headed to the bench and rattled off four straight points to move back ahead by eight, 20-12. Another Red Flash timeout failed to faze Penn State as a 4-1 run had the Nittany Lions at set point, 24-14. However, three kills in a row by the Red Flash postponed the Nittany Lion win and brought SFU within seven, 24-17. Turko finally closed out the match with a kill for a 25-17 set three victory.
The Nittany Lions remain at home for their eighth straight match on Saturday, Feb. 9 against No. 9 Ohio State. Action is set for 8 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.