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Callaway Lifts No. 12 Men's Volleyball Past NJIT

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Matt Callaway

Feb. 14, 2014

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Behind a team-high performance from redshirt freshman Matt Callaway, the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (9-2, 2-0) dismantled NJIT (4-3, 0-2) in straight sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-13) Friday evening at Rec Hall. The PSU victory extends the Nittany Lions winning streak to nine consecutive matches.

The win also moves PSU to 33-1 all-time against the Highlanders, stretching the current winning streak against NJIT to 18 straight. Penn State has not lost a match to the Highlanders since 1998, surrendering only one set to NJIT in the last 10 years.

"Mentally we played a match that was pretty solid, we did not make too many careless mistakes and we focused pretty well on what we could control," head coach Mark Pavlik said. "We followed the game plan well and we stayed physical with the ball."

Callaway led the squad in both kills and blocks registering eight kills, while also matching a season-high mark with six blocks, including three solo stuffs. Callaway was tabbed the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match for his performance.

Redshirt junior Nick Goodell followed closely behind with seven kills on .438 hitting without a single attack error, tallying one ace, four digs and two blocks. Junior Aaron Russell and senior Peter Russell totaled six kills apiece.

Redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert finished second on the team in blocks, notching four total blocks to go along with four kills on five errorless swings. Redshirt junior Connor Curry led the team with a match-high 11 digs.

As a team, Penn State outhit NJIT .423-.061 in the match, limiting the Highlanders to .100 or lower attacking in all three sets.

Tied up early in the first set, 4-4, Peter and Goodell teamed up for back-to-back kills followed by an NJIT error to move ahead by three, 7-4. The Highlanders came storming back, using a 4-2 spurt to jump within one, 9-8. Goodell and Callaway answered with a pair of consecutive kills to rebuild the lead, 11-8. Looking to spark some momentum, NJIT connected on two kills, in between one from Callaway, to arrive within two, 12-10.

Pulling away, the Nittany Lions opened up on 10-2 streak to secure a double-digit lead, 20-12. Peter and Seifert both pounded two kills each during the scoring stretch. The Highlanders cut off the run with two straight kills, 22-14, but Penn State followed with a 3-1 strike to close out a 25-15 win in the opening stanza.

Trailing by one, 8-7, in set two, Callaway and Aaron tallied three consecutive kills to spark a 5-0 run that moved the Nittany Lions ahead by four, 12-8. NJIT halted the streak with a kill, but Penn State responded with an 8-2 streak to bolster the lead to nine, 20-11. The Highlanders made one final attempt to settle into a rhythm with a kill, 20-12, but Penn State scored the next five consecutive points to secure a 25-12 win in the second set.

Following the intermission, the Nittany Lions got out to a hot start in the third set, using an 11-3 run to take control of the frame. NJIT attempted to battle back, trimming the lead back to seven, 15-8, but using a balanced attack, PSU took off on a 7-2 run to capture its largest advantage of the stanza, 22-9.

Regrouping, the Highlanders pounded a kill and then capitalized on a PSU error after a kill from redshirt freshman Spencer Sauter, 23-11, but a service error put junior Kyle Gregan at the line for set and match point, 24-11. NJIT managed to hold off two attempts before freshman Chris Nugent locked up a 25-13 win with a kill to complete the sweep.

The Nittany Lions return to action Saturday, Feb. 15, hosting EIVA conference opponent Rutgers-Newark at 4 p.m. in south gym.




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