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Feb. 8, 2014
Nick Goodell and junior Aaron Russell led the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (8-2) to a straight set victory (25-18, 25-20, 25-19) against Pfeiffer with a pair of double-digit kill performances Saturday evening at Rec Hall. With the win, the Nittany Lions stretch their winning streak to eight consecutive matches.
Russell led the team with 17 kills on .560 hitting, adding one ace and seven digs. Goodell followed closely behind with 15 kills, and a squad-best three aces, adding six digs and one block to earn the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match award. Redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert tallied six kills and one dig, while redshirt sophomore Matt Callaway totaled four kills on six errorless swings, while also leading the team with two blocks.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hammond distributed 40 assists, pacing the Nittany Lions to a .363 hitting clip. Taylor also notched six digs and one kill. Redshirt junior Connor Curry continued his stellar defensive performance, recording a team-high nine digs.
Penn State opened the match on a 6-2 run, capped off by a trio of kills from Goodell and Hammond. Pfeiffer answered with a kill to shave the lead back to three, 6-3, but a service error quickly put an end to the Falcons' momentum. The Nittany Lions used a 9-4 stretch to pull ahead by as many as seven, 16-9, forcing Pfeiffer to call a timeout.
The Falcons came out of the break with a block, but PSU held off any further offensive pressure, using a 6-3 stretch to secure an eight-point advantage, 21-13. Pfeiffer attempted to spark some momentum with a pair of consecutive kills, 21-15, but a Falcon service error and an ace from Goodell put Penn State back up by eight, 23-15.
Looking to mount a comeback, Pfeiffer pounded two consecutive kills, but Goodell answered with a kill to make it set-point, 24-17. A PSU serving error held off the attempt, but Aaron closed out a 25-18 win in the first set with a kill to give the Nittany Lions an early advantage in the match.
After briefly trading points early in set two, the Falcons followed a PSU attack error with a block to go up by two, 6-4. Senior Peter Russell answered with a kill to put the Lions within one, 6-5, but Pfeiffer responded with a kill and a solo stuff to go back up by three, 8-5. Recovering, Penn State put together a 4-1 strike to tie the stanza, 9-all, forcing the Falcons to call a timeout.
Despite knotting the frame three more times after the break, the Nittany Lions cracked open a 15-15 tie with a 5-2 streak to pull away by three, 20-17. Finding rhythm, Penn State finished off a 25-20 win in set two with a 5-3 stretch, featuring kills from Aaron and Seifert.
Following the intermission, PSU and Pfeiffer kept it close, until the Lions used four unanswered points to break away from an 8-all tie for a 12-8 lead. The Falcons put an end to the streak with a kill, but Aaron connected on back-to-back kills to bolster the lead to four, 14-9. From there, Penn State remained in control, holding on to at least a four-point cushion before Pfeiffer battled to within three, 17-14.
A service error prevented the Falcons from moving closer, allowing PSU to surge ahead by five, 22-17. The Falcons made one more attempt to spark some momentum with a kill, 22-18, but two costly errors put Peter at the line for set and match point, 24-18. A Penn State service error thwarted the first attempt, but Goodell pounded the final kill to secure a 25-19 win in set three to complete the sweep.
Next week the Nittany Lions remain home, welcoming two EIVA opponents to Rec Hall for a pair of conference matchups. Penn State takes on NJIT Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in main gym before hosting Rutgers-Newark at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 in south gym.