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Feb. 16, 2013
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The ninth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team earned a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-23) win against Sacred Heart on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions (10-3, 4-1 EIVA) used a balanced offense to defeat the Pioneers (8-1, 0-4 EIVA).
Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the team with nine kills, while senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) posted eight and redshirt sophomore Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) had seven. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 32 assists and also led the team in digs with seven. Redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) led the team in blocks with four.
Penn State hit .355 against the Pioneers and totaled 40 kills, two aces, 30 digs and had 8.0 total team blocks. Sacred Heart was held to .108 hitting with 29 kills, one ace, 21 digs and 6.0 team blocks.
After a close start in set one, a 6-1 Penn State run had the Nittany Lions with a five-point lead, 12-7. The Pioneers fought to within three, 12-9, but a 5-1 run by Penn State had Penn State with a commanding seven-point advantage, 17-10. Sacred Heart called a timeout and narrowed the gap to six, 18-12, but two kills from Russell and one from Comfort had Penn State up by nine, 22-13. Despite two PSU errors, a kill from Comfort and an SHU error had the Linos at set point, 24-16. The Pioneers tallied one final kill before junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) pounded a kill to claim set one for the Lions, 25-17.
Penn State jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the second frame and never looked back. Three straight SHU errors began a 7-2 Nittany Lion run for a convincing 13-5 Penn State lead. Sacred Heart called a timeout, but Peter Russell and Goodell each pounded a kill to put Penn State's lead in double-digits, 15-5. Penn State maintained at least an eight point lead throughout the middle of the set. As Penn State crept closer to claiming set two, three Sacred Heart kills helped move the Pioneers within seven, 24-17. The Pioneers put down one final kill before an attack error secured the second set for Penn State, 25-18.
In the third and final frame, Sacred Heart managed to keep within two points of the Nittany Lions until a 4-0 run gave the Pioneers an 11-10 edge. A block by Aaron Russell and Seifert knotted the score at 11-11, but a service error pushed SHU back on top, 12-11. After another tie score, back-to-back Sacred Heart kills had the Pioneers leading by two, 14-12. Penn State called a timeout, but continued to trail falling behind by as many as three points. Down 19-16, four straight Sacred Heart errors gave Penn State the lead again, 20-19. The Pioneers headed to the bench and managed to tie it up at 20 all. The score tied twice more before a Comfort kill and a solo stuff from senior Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) had Penn State ahead, 24-22. A PSU service error pulled the Pioneers within one, 24-23, but a Comfort kill gave Penn State a 25-23 set three victory.
Penn State returns home to host George Mason and Princeton on Feb. 22-23. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. starts. 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.