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Feb. 15, 2013
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The No. 9 Penn State men's volleyball team suffered a 3-0 (23-25, 17-25, 23-25) setback to EIVA Harvard on Friday night. The Nittany Lions (9-3, 3-1 EIVA) are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. at Sacred Heart.
Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) posted a team-best 11 kills, while junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) posted 10. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 29 assists and Aaron Russell added two aces. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) led Penn state with five digs and senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) had two blocks.
The Crimson held Penn State to a .244 hitting percentage. The Nittany Lions tallied 35 kills, three aces, 21 digs and 1.5 total team blocks. Harvard finished the night hitting .457 with 47 kills, four aces, 22 digs and 7.0 team blocks.
The first set was close from the start, but nearing the midpoint of the set the Nittany Lions had a slim 10-8 edge. Penn State's lead grew to three, 14-11, after back-to-back Peter Russell kills. Two points from Harvard had the Crimson within one, 14-13, but a service error and an ace from redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) had the Lions back ahead by three, 16-13. Harvard called a timeout and rattled off four straight points for a 17-16 lead. The Lions headed to the bench, but Harvard maintained control. Penn State managed to knot the score at 20-20 thanks to a Harvard error and a kill from senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.). Penn State was unable to jump in front thanks to a Harvard kill and a PSU error putting the Crimson up by two, 22-20. The Nittany Lions used their second time but it didn't faze Harvard. The Crimson held on to the lead and claimed set one, 25-23.
After a 3-3 start to set two, Harvard took control and was up 8-6 when Penn State used its first timeout. Harvard embarked on a 5-1 run after the timeout to take a six-point lead, 13-7. Redshirt sophomore Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) cut off the run with a kill, but Penn State was unable to grab any of Harvard's momentum. Despite a Turko putdown, Harvard took off on a 5-2 run to increase its lead to eight, 19-11. Penn State managed to narrow the gap to six, 21-15, but it was the closest the Nittany Lions would come for the remainder of the set. Harvard maintained control for the remainder and won the set, 25-17.
The third set was much like the first with neither time developing momentum early. Midway through the set a 3-1 Harvard run had the Crimson ahead by three, 11-8. Penn State called a timeout, but Harvard kept pressing forward. Penn State kept it close briefly before a second 3-0 Harvard run had the Crimson up by five, 16-11. Harvard's lead grew to six, 19-13, and Penn State called a timeout. A Harvard error and two Penn State blocks moved Penn State within three, 19-16. The two squads traded points, but Harvard maintained the lead. The Crimson hit set point, 24-21, but two kills from Goodell moved Penn State within one, 24-23. Harvard managed to prevent the Lions from tying it up and pounded a kill to close out the set, 25-23, and the match.
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.