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Feb. 9, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team (9-2) suffered a 3-0 (22-25, 20-25, 24-26) setback to No. 9 Ohio State (8-2). More than 3,200 fans were on hand to watch the match.
"I thought tonight's match had the feel of a national semifinal," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "For the most part in the tough parts in the games, Ohio State out-competed us. We had leads late in each game and couldn't finish. The good thing is these are the types of matches we need because these are the types of leads we'll be playing in April and May."
The Nittany Lions were led by sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) who had a match-high 16 kills on .480 hitting and was named the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match. Senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) was second on the team with 13 kills. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 39 assists and redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a match-best 12 digs. Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.), senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) and redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) each put up two blocks each.
Penn State was held to .173 hitting, but topped the Buckeyes in kills with 42, aces with six and digs with 34. The Nittany Lions totaled 5.0 team blocks. Ohio State hit .333 and had 40 kills, three aces, 33 digs and 10.0 team blocks.
The first set was close for its entirety. There were 14 tie scores and eight lead changes. By the midpoint of the set, Penn State had a slim 13-12 edge after a Seifert kill and a huge solo stuff by Peter Russell. A PSU error and a Buckeye kill moved Ohio State into the lead, 14-13, but a 3-0 Nittany Lion run had Penn State with a two-point edge, 16-14. Ohio State called a timeout, but Penn State maintained the lead briefly until Ohio State put together a 3-0 run of its own for a slim 20-19 edge. Penn State used a timeout and capitalized on an Aaron Russell kill and a Buckeye error to knot the score at 21-21. Ohio State called a timeout and consecutive killsby OSU's Andrew Lutz had the Buckeyes ahead by two, 23-21. Penn State used its final timeout and Aaron Russell followed with a kill to move PSU within one, 23-22. However, two straight Buckeyes stuffs secured a 25-22 Ohio State win.
An OSU error and kills from Comfort and Aaron Russell put the Lions ahead early in set two, 3-1. The Buckeyes managed to tie it up at 4-4 and soon after had a two-point lead, 10-8. Two kills from Comfort and one from Peter Russell helped the Lions knot it at 11-11. Two more Nittany Lions kills had Penn State leading, 13-11, and Ohio State using a timeout. Back-to-back aces from Turko increased Penn State's lead to four, 15-11. However, five straight PSU errors had the Buckeyes on top, 16-15. Penn State called a timeout, and with the help of two Ohio State errors and kills from Aaron Russell and Comfort Penn State was ahead by two, 19-17. Ohio State called a timeout and rattled off four straight points for a 21-19 lead. The Lions headed to the bench, but could not overcome the deficit. The Buckeyes claimed set two, 25-20.
After another close start in the third frame with neither team developing any momentum early on, Penn State scored three straight points for a 13-10 lead. The Buckeyes took a timeout and managed to knot the score at 14 all. The score tied once more before two PSU errors gave the Buckeyes a two-point lead, 17-15. Penn State called a timeout, but continued to trail yet never let the Buckeyes grab more than a three-point lead. With the Buckeyes leading 22-19, the Nittany Lions headed to the bench against and moved within one, 22-21, after a comfort kill and an OSU error. Following a Buckeye timeout, Penn State finally tied it up at 24-24, after two consecutive kills from Aaron Russell. However, the Nittany Lions were unable to close it out as an error and an Ohio State ace gave the Buckeyes a 26-24 victory.
Penn State hits the road for meetings with EIVA foes Harvard and Sacred Heart on Feb. 15-16. The Lions face the Crimson on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Pioneers on Saturday at 8 p.m.
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.