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Feb. 22, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (12-2, 5-0) secured sole possession of first place in the EIVA conference with a straight-set (25-19, 25-15, 25-22) win against Harvard (5-4, 4-1) Saturday afternoon at Rec Hall. The victory also extends the Nittany Lion winning streak to 12 consecutive matches.
Redshirt junior Nick Goodell led the offense with his first double-double of the season, tallying 11 kills and 10 digs. He also tied for first on the team with three total blocks. Junior Aaron Russell notched eight kills to go along with 10 digs and one ace. Redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert tallied seven kills on a season-best .600 hitting clip, adding two digs, one ace and one block.
Redshirt junior Connor Curry led the squad with a match-high 14 digs to earn his first Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match honor of the season.
Trailing by one, 6-5, after battling early, the Nittany Lions used a 4-1 streak to go up by two, 9-7. The Crimson answered with a kill, to cut off the rhythm, but Penn State followed with a 5-1 stretch to move ahead by five, 14-9. Harvard quickly erased the gap, using a 5-2 run to shave the advantage to two, 16-14, forcing PSU to call a timeout.
The Nittany Lions came out of the break with a 5-2 streak to control of a comfortable five-point cushion, 21-16. The two teams briefly traded points, before a Crimson attack error and a kill from Seifert locked up a 25-19 win in favor of PSU. Penn State jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second set, capped off by three consecutive Nittany Lion blocks.
Regrouping, the Crimson used a 4-1 spurt to jump within two, 7-5. Pulling away, PSU used a 6-2 stretch to double its advantage, 14-7. A PSU service error temporarily slowed the momentum, before the Lions put together another 5-2 run to bolster the lead to nine, 19-10.
Harvard made one final attempt to spark its offense with a 4-1 strike, 20-14, but Penn State closed out the frame on a 5-1 run to put away a 25-15 win in the second set.
PSU and Harvard battled back-and-forth early in the third set before the Nittany Lions took control of a 9-all tie with a 4-2 stretch that vaulted Penn State ahead by two, 13-11. Rallying, the Crimson responded with a 3-1 spurt to knot the frame, 14-14. The Nittany Lions followed with three unanswered points to extend the lead to three, 17-14.
The Nittany Lions couldn't shake Harvard for good though, as the Crimson fought to within one, 21-20. Two costly errors lifted Penn State ahead by three, 23-20, but a service error cut the PSU run short, 23-21. Aaron connected on a kill to make it set point, 24-21, before Harvard sent over a kill to hold off the attempt at match point. Goodell wrapped up a 25-21 win in the final stanza with a kill to complete the sweep.
Next up, the Nittany Lions will travel to Princeton and George Mason to open a seven-match road test. Penn State and the Tigers will face off Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. before meeting the Patriots Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m.