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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 13 Penn State (9-6, 4-2) dropped an EIVA match Saturday night against Sacred Heart 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 23-25, 18-25) at Rec Hall.
"I think it's a great win by Sacred Heart," said head coach Mark Pavlik.
"I think it's a great example of what a great libero can do for a team. (Joshua) Ayzenberg is the heartbeat of their team, and he averaged over five digs a game on us, he made some amazing on-on-one digs and kept them in rallies. Game one we came out and did what we needed to do, we passed the ball, and we hit .364. Game two and three I don't know if we expected them to just back off and mosey in and say `I don't feel like competing' but I think at that point they started to out defend us they started to out compete us which is really disappointing."
Aidan Albrecht led Penn State in kills recording 14 on the night while adding 11 digs and three blocks.
Kevin Gear earned Mike Anderson Memorial Player of the Game honors with his seven kills, one assist, four digs and eight blocks against the Pioneers.
Luke Braswell notched 41 kills while Royce Clemens posted 13 digs to lead the Nittany Lions.
Penn State opened that match with a 25-21 win in the opening set, paired with a second set 25-23 loss to send the teams to the locker-room tied at the half 1-1.
Set three was the entire way as neither team was able to put together more than a few points before the other team battled back with the largest lead for either team during the set being four points.
A Nittany Lion attack error knotted the game at 15-15 prompting a Mark Pavlik timeout to talk to his team.
Penn State scored two straight out of the timeout to take a 17-15 lead, but as mentioned the inability of either team to string together a long series of points played into the hand of Sacred heart as they embarked on a 6-2 run to assume a 22-19 lead forcing a second Penn State timeout.
Back-to-back Sacred Heart errors started the rally for Penn State as they pulled to within one (22-21) of the Pioneers which was enough for SHU to call their first timeout of the set.
Christopher DeLucie notched a kill out of the break and Penn State's Aidan Albrecht answered back with a kill of his own the next play.
DeLucie committed an attack error to complete the comeback as Penn State tied it at 23-23 where Sacred Heart burned their second timeout.
Out of the timeout, back-to-back attack errors by the Nittany Lions gave the set to Sacred Heart who took a 2-1 lead heading to the fourth.
Sacred Heart took advantage of the moment jumping out to an early lead in set four 11-4 and never looked back taking the set 25-18 and earning their first win against Penn State in program history.
This marks the first time under Pavlik that Penn State has lost at least two EIVA conference games in back-to-back seasons following a 12-2 EIVA record last season.
Penn State will hit the road to take on George Mason Friday, Feb. 24th in Fairfax, Va. as they continue their first cycle through EIVA opponents.
For more on Nittany Lion men's volleyball, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateMVBall