No. 11 Nittany Lions Claw Past Bobcats, 3-2
Feb. 19, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 11th-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team clawed past the Lees McRae (8-7) with a 3-2 (24-26, 25-12, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9) win on Saturday afternoon. Penn State now embarks on a six-match road trip.
In honor of All-American Matt Anderson's father Mike Anderson, who passed away unexpectedly in 2010, the Penn State volleyball family has chosen to honor one Nittany Lion at the conclusion of each match in honor of Mike. Sophomore Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) was named the Mike Anderson Player of the Game for his efforts against Lees McRae.
Comfort led all players with 19 kills on .429 hitting and also tallied 10 digs. Junior Ryan Wolf (York, Pa.) finished second on the team with 15 kills and freshman Jace Olsen (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) posted 10. Redshirt junior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 46 assists and senior libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) had a match-high 13 digs. Sophomore Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) had a team-best seven blocks and Ryan finished second on the team with six.
The Nittany attacked at a .298 clip, while the Bobcats hit .228. Penn State totaled 59 kills, five aces, 41 digs and 13.0 total team blocks. Lees McRae finished the match with 55 kills, three aces, 33 digs and 9.0 team blocks.
Penn State grabbed a slim 3-1 lead to start the match, but the Bobcats never let Penn State get too far ahead. The Bobcats fought back to tie the set at 8-8, but two straight errors put PSU up by two, 10-8. A 3-1 run by LMC knotted the score at 11-11 and a PSU error put the Bobcats in the lead, 12-11. Comfort tied it up with a kill and two PSU blocks and a Bobcat error gave Penn State a three-point lead, 15-12. Penn State maintained a slim lead until a PSU error had the score tied once again 17-17. A kill by freshman Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) and an ace from junior Tor Covello (Yardley, Pa.) moved Penn State back into control, 19-17. Penn State continued to control the set until a Bobcat kill and block put the score at 22-22. Penn State grabbed the lead twice more, but two PSU errors and a LMC kill gave the Bobcats a 26-24 win.
The second set couldn't have been more different from the first. The set started out close until Penn State embarked on a 5-0 run for a nine-point advantage, 13-4. LMC managed two consecutive points, but PSU prevented the Bobcats from developing any momentum with two kills by Comfort. With a 17-9 advantage, the Nittany Lions managed a 7-2 run to be in set-point position, 24-11. A PSU error gave the ball back to LMC, but a joint stuff by Goas and sophomore Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) closed out set two for PSU, 25-12.
The Nittany Lions continued their winning ways in set three, but the Bobcats didn't let it come easy. Penn State commanded control early and worked up two a 13-8 lead. However, the advantage was short lived as a 5-0 run had the score knotted at 16-16. Kills from Olsen and Comfort put PSU back in the lead, 18-16. It was a lead the Lions wouldn't relinquish for the remainder of the set. With a slim 22-21 lead, two Olsen kills and one from Comfort gave PSU a 25-23 third set win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Bobcats hopped out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth set. A 4-1 PSU run tied the set at 4-4. The score tied twice more before a 3-0 PSU run had Penn State up by three, 9-6. A 6-1 run by LMC put the Bobcats in control, 12-10. The Bobcats remained in control for the remainder of the set and earned a 25-22 win to tie the match at 2-2.
The fifth set started out close with the Bobcats edging Penn State out for the lead time and time again. With the score knotted at 6-6, a Comfort kill and a LMC error gave Penn State an 8-6 lead. The Nittany Lions tallied four more points to increase their lead to six, 12-6. They allowed the Bobcats only three more points before Turko closed out the match with a kill for a 15-9 fifth set win.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2011 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets at Hershey.