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Feb. 20, 2009
CHICAGO, Ill. - The top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team dropped its first match since March 7, 2008 as it fell at Loyola-Chicago in five games (24-30, 30-25, 30-25, 27-30, 9-15) Friday night in Chicago, Ill. The Nittany Lions drop to 10-1 while the Ramblers improve to 6-3.
Junior middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) recorded a career-high 18 kills on .519 hitting as junior outside hitter Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) also put down 18 kills. Senior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) collected 11 kills on .500 hitting as both senior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) and redshirt freshman outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) notched nine kills. As a team, Penn State hit .323 and Loyola attacked at a .417 clip.
Redshirt freshman setter Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 57 assists and sophomore libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) picked up a match-high nine digs as Sunder collected a career-high eight. Goas, Price and Sweitzer all tallied six digs as the Lions outdug the Ramblers, 39-28.
Loyola posted eight service aces but committed 29 service errors while Penn State notched six aces with 15 errors. Price led the Lions with three aces as Lipsitz tallied two and Holt recorded one.
The Ramblers also claimed the blocking battle, 9.5 to 7.0. Goas and Holt led the way with four apiece while Sunder and Lipsitz notched two.
Mike Bunting led Loyola with a career-high 32 kills on .529 hitting as Krisjanis Berzins posted 17 kills.
Loyola jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the decisive fifth game behind an ace and a block before a Lipsitz ace knotted the game at 4-4. But two Penn State errors put the Ramblers up 6-4 and forced a Nittany Lion timeout. Out of the break, Loyola continued its run, rattling off a kill, block and ace to extend its lead to 9-4. The teams traded points before a Rambler service error and Price kill pulled Penn State within three at 10-7. Out of a Loyola timeout, the teams exchanged kills twice before a Rambler kill, a Lion attack error and a Loyola block gave the Ramblers the match, 15-9.
Penn State trailed for much of the first game, pulling within three at 18-15 on a Sweitzer kill. Loyola maintained the slight lead, going up 22-18 before Lipsitz and Holt kills helped the Nittany Lions stay within three at 23-20. Two Rambler kills forced a Penn State timeout, down 25-20 and the teams traded kills before a Lion attack error and a Loyola block gave the Ramblers the 28-21 advantage. After an exchange of points and a Lion triple block, Loyola responded with a kill to take the first game, 30-24.
The Nittany Lions came out strong to start the second stanza, going ahead 6-2 on Holt and Lipsitz kills and back to back Price aces. The teams traded points three times before a Lipsitz kill and consecutive Rambler attack errors put Penn State up 11-5. The Nittany Lions remained on top, going ahead 18-11 on a Price kill out of the back row and 22-18 on a Lipsitz put-away. A Holt and Goas block made it 27-21 before two Price kills ended the game, 30-25.
The third game remained close throughout, with Loyola going ahead 8-6 on consecutive kills and 18-16 on another put-away. A Sunder kill closed the gap to one at 18-17, and following a Lion error, a Rambler service error and a Holt ace knotted the game at 19-19. Two Price kills put Penn State on top 21-19 and the Lions remained ahead, going up 23-21 on a Rambler attack error. A Sweitzer kill off a diving Del Valle dig pushed the Lions ahead 27-24 before a Sunder kill off the block and a Holt put-away ended the game, 30-25, in favor of Penn State.
Game four featured 16 ties, with a big Sunder kill breaking the 4-4 stalemate. A Price kill down the line moved Penn State ahead 8-6 before back to back Lipsitz kills pushed the Lion lead to 11-8. A Goas and Holt block made it 14-11 but Loyola fought back to knot the score at 16-16 on a kill and ace. The teams traded points three times, with a Lipsitz ace putting Penn State up 20-19. A Lion error again tied the game and a Goas overpass kill gave Penn State the 23-22 lead. The squads traded points four more times, with a Sunder kill putting the Lions ahead 27-26. But out of a Rambler timeout, Loyola rattled off three consecutive kills to go up 29-27 before an ace off the top of the next gave them the game, 30-27.
Penn State remains on the road, traveling to IPFW on Saturday, Feb. 21 for a 7:00 p.m. ET contest with the Mastodons. The Nittany Lions then return home on Wednesday, Feb. 25 to host Saint Francis, before welcoming Lewis on Friday, Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m. and NJIT on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the South Gym of Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.