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March 1, 2014
Nick Goodell, junior Aaron Russell and redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert powered the offense with double-digit kills.
Goodell tallied a team-high 16 kills to go along with 11 digs for his second double-double of the season. Russell also notched a double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs, while Seifert totaled 12 kills on a squad best .688 hitting percentage. Redshirt junior Connor Curry also recorded double-figures with 10 digs.
Seifert and Russell were both impressive from the service line as Seifert registered a career-high mark with a match-high six aces. Russell matched a season-high mark with five aces. Seifert rounded out his performance with a season and team-high six blocks.
Battling back-and-forth from the start of the match, George Mason cracked open an 11-all tie midway through the first frame with back-to-back blocks to move up by two, 13-11. The Nittany Lions attempted to spark some momentum, but the Patriots continued to pull ahead, leading by at least two points, 17-15.
Trailing by two, Penn State opened up on a 9-0 streak featuring two aces from Russell and two kills from Goodell that lifted the Nittany Lions to set-point, 24-17. George Mason looked to regroup with two kills and an ace, 24-20, but a service error handed PSU a 25-20 win in the first set.
The two teams opened the second set much like the first stanza, keeping it close throughout the first half of the frame. Tied at 10-10, the Nittany Lions put together a 5-0 streak to secure a five-point lead, 15-10, forcing the Patriots to call a timeout. Regrouping, George Mason answered with a 6-2 stretch to knot the set, 16-all. Keeping it tight, PSU and GMU battled to two more tie scores, 19-19, before a kill from Goodell and a Patriot attack error pushed Penn State ahead by two, 21-19.
George Mason fired a kill to halt the momentum, but Penn State followed with a 3-0 spurt to arrive at set-point, 24-20. The Patriots held off the attempt with a kill and an ace, but senior Peter Russell followed with a kill to lock up a 25-22 win in the second set.
Tied up at 12-all in the third set, George Mason pulled away on a 5-2 run to claim a three-point lead, 17-14. Goodell connected on a kill to slow the momentum, but the Patriots responded with three straight points to bolster the lead to five, 20-15. Recovering, PSU quickly erased the deficit with a 5-1 streak to climb within one, 21-20.
Penn State managed to tie the frame three more times, but the Patriots broke away from a 24-24 tie with a kill and an ace to lock up a 26-24 win in the third set to prevent the Nittany Lions from claiming the sweep.
Leading by two in the fourth set, 10-8, the Patriots pounded two kills in between one from Seifert to keep it narrow the Nittany Lion lead to one, 11-10. From there, both teams struggled to construct more than a two-point advantage.
With a slim lead, 18-17, Goodell and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway teamed up for a block before a kill from Goodell to give the Nittany Lions a three-point advantage, 20-17, forcing the Patriots to call a timeout. George Mason came out of the break with a kill and an ace to tie the set, 20-20, but a service error and an ace from Peter pushed PSU ahead by two, 22-20. The Nittany Lions continued to hold off the Patriots, before a GMU attack error made it set and match point, 24-22.
Penn State couldn't shake George Mason for good as the Patriots used a kill and a block to tie the frame, 24-24. Goodell and Seifert quickly secured a 26-24 win in the stanza with two consecutive kills to wrap up a win.
Radoslav Popov led a group of three double-digit hitters for George Mason with a match-high 24 kills. Christian Malias posted 12 kills while Paco Velez added 11.
The Nittany Lions will continue their seven-match road test next week, traveling to Ohio State for a non-conference Big Ten tilt set for Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m. Penn State will briefly return home before heading to the west coast the following weekend to take on Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State Friday, March 14 - Saturday, March 15.