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Feb. 15, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Using a balanced attack, the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (10-2, 3-0) rolled to a straight-set victory (25-16, 25-17, 25-13) against Rutgers-Newark (3-3, 0-2) Saturday afternoon at Rec Hall. The win improves the Nittany Lion's winning streak to 10 consecutive matches.
Redshirt junior Nick Goodell led the offense with seven kills on .545 attacking, adding two digs. Senior Peter Russell followed close behind with five kills, four digs and one block. Junior Aaron Russell continued his stellar performance from the service line, tallying a team-high four aces.
The Nittany Lions received solid contributions from the bench as redshirt freshman Spencer Sauter posted five kills and two digs. Freshman Chris Nugent registered a season-high performance with four kills on four perfect swings. Junior Kyle Gregan matched a career-high mark with two kills and two blocks, while redshirt freshman Andrew Roberts set a new personal best with three kills, one dig and one block.
As a team, Penn State out-hit Rutgers-Newark .393-.027, marking the second consecutive match the Nittany Lions have held a team to less than .100 hitting. Trailing by one, 6-5, early in the first set, the Nittany Lions used a 3-0 spurt, capped off by solo blocks from Aaron and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway to move ahead by two, 8-6. The Scarlet Raider answered with a quick 2-1 strike to stay within one, 9-8. Regrouping, Penn State used a 7-0 streak, capped off by a trio of consecutive aces from Aaron to double the advantage, 16-8.
A PSU service error temporarily interrupted the run, but the Nittany Lions rebounded with a 4-1 streak to secure a double digit lead, 20-10. Recovering, Rutgers-Newark followed with a 4-2 run to shave the advantage back to seven, 23-16, but Callaway pounded a kill to put Aaron at the line for set-point, 24-16. Unable to regain momentum, the Scarlet Raider answered with an attacker error to lock up a 25-16 win in favor the Nittany Lions.
Tied early in the second set, 5-5, Penn State cracked open the knotted frame with a 7-2 streak to move ahead by five, 12-7. Rutgers-Newark cut off the run with a block, but the Nittany Lions continued the balanced attack, using a 6-2 strike to go up by as many as seven, 18-11.
The Scarlet Raider looked to spark some momentum with a pair of kills in between one from freshman Joey Farrell, but PSU followed with a quick 3-0 spurt to remain in control, 22-13. Rutgers-Newark continued to fight, using another 3-1 strike to climb within seven, 23-17, but a Scarlet Raider service error put an end to the momentum, sending sophomore Zack Parik back to the line for set point. Parik quickly fired an ace to secure a 25-17 win in the second set and put the Lions up 2-0 heading into the break.
Penn State shot out to a 6-2 advantage early in the third. Looking to get back on track, Rutgers-Newark connected on a kill to narrow the gap to three, 6-3. Holding off the pressure, the Nittany Lions used a 7-2 run to bolster the lead to eight, 13-5. Rutgers-Newark rebounded with a kill right before a PSU attack error to arrive within six, 13-7, but PSU powered ahead, using a 6-2 stretch to make it 19-9.
The Scarlet Raider made one more attempt to settle into an offensive rhythm with a kill and a bad set from PSU, but the Nittany Lions rolled to a 25-13 win in set three on a 6-2 run to complete the sweep.
Next up, Penn State closes out the final stretch of an 11-match homestand next weekend, welcoming a pair of teams to Rec Hall for two conference matchups. The Nittany Lions host Sacred Heart Friday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. before taking on George Mason Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m.