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Feb. 23, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The second-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team pummeled Saint Francis in three games (30-21, 30-13, 30-17) Saturday night at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions improve to 16-0 and 7-0 in the EIVA Tait while the Red Flash fall to 9-7 and 5-2 in league action.
"This is the first time in a long time that we're performing at this point in the season like we have at the end of past seasons," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "To (perform this way) against the second place team in the conference is a good sign. We took control early and never let up. We've put ourselves in a pretty good position this season and that reflects the high level we've been playing at in practice."
Three Lion players reached double-digit kills, led by junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), who racked up 19 kills on .500 hitting. Junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) each tallied 10 kills on .667 and .438 hitting, respectively. Junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) recorded seven kills and junior outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) chipped in four on .800 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .506 clip for the match, its fourth team single-match hitting percentage above the .500 mark this season.
Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the Lion offense with 42 assists and added in a career-high-tying four kills on an errorless five attacks to hit .800. Freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) provided a match-high eight digs while Anderson, Murray and Anderson all posted five digs apiece.
Penn State tied its season high with 10 service aces as a team as Murray equaled his personal best with four aces. Stauffer recorded a season-high two winners as Lipsitz, Holt, Sweitzer and Anderson all posted one ace.
The Nittany Lions oublocked the Red Flash, 9.0 to 3.0. Holt led the blocking list with five stuffs as Murray provided three and Stauffer, Anderson, Sweitzer and Lipsitz all chipped in two blocks.
Nick Rivett and Jordan Varee led Saint Francis with five kills each and Chad Martson chipped in four kills. Shane Conley dished out 13 assists and Markus Schulze topped the defense with five digs. Varee and Patrick McManamon each tallied two blocks for the Red Flash.
Penn State took control of the match from the outset, going up 8-2 on an Anderson and Holt block and an Anderson kill. The Lions remained on top, taking the 15-10 lead on a Murray kill and 18-11 on a Sweitzer put-away and consecutive Anderson finishes. Out of a Red Flash timeout, back to back Murray service aces extended the score to 20-11. Four consecutive Nittany Lion unforced hitting errors brought Saint Francis within seven at 24-17 but a Lipsitz kill halted the slide and kills form Anderson and Holt coupled with a Holt ace and Stauffer kill ended the game, 30-21. Anderson and Lipsitz led the way with five kills each as Holt added in four on .800 hitting.
A Lion triple block from Holt, Murray and Stauffer continued the onslaught, putting Penn State up 11-4 to start the second game. A Stauffer ace and Anderson kill made it 17-6 before kills from Anderson and Holt along with a Sweitzer ace pushed the score to 22-9. A Holt and Stauffer block extended the Lion lead to 15 at 25-10 before two Anderson kills finished off the game, 30-13. Penn State sided out at a 92% clip in the second game while hitting .419 with 4.5 team blocks. Anderson connected on eight of his 13 errorless swings to lead the way.
Back to back Stauffer kills and then consecutive Murray service aces put Penn State up 9-4 to begin the third game. An Anderson kill to make it 12-8 sparked a 5-0 Lion run to push the lead to 16-8. Two more Anderson putaways coupled with a Stauffer ace gave Penn State the 22-12 advantage and a Lion triple block from Anderson, Holt and Sweitzer made it 26-13 before an Anderson kill ended the game, 30-17. Penn State again sided out at an outstanding clip, going 17-of-18 for 94% while hitting .615.
Penn State remains at home, hosting East Stroudsburg and NJIT next weekend at Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.