No. 6 Men's Volleyball Nipped by No. 4 USC, 3-0
March 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Despite a strong defensive performance from redshirt freshman Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.), No. 4 USC dealt No. 6 Penn State a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-20) loss Friday night at the Galen Center.
Curry led the lions with 10 digs, while redshirt senior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.), who was second on the team with seven kills, had nine digs. Junior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) posted a team-best nine kills. Redshirt senior setter Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 29 assists and recorded six digs. Freshman Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the team with two aces and two blocks.
The Trojans held the Nittany Lions (13-3) to .069 hitting. Penn State totaled 32 kills, two aces, 38 digs and 5.0 team blocks. USC (12-4) his .295 and had 40 kills, four aces, 37 digs and 14.0 team blocks.
The Lions took a strong 7-3 lead in the first frame thanks to strong offensive play. USC called an early timeout and fought to close the gap. Midway through the set, Penn State's lead had slimmed to one, 13-12, but kills from Aaron Russell and junior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) gave Penn State a three-point edge, 15-12. However, three straight points by the Trojans has the score knotted at 15-15. Comfort pounded a kill to move Penn State back in front, but a Trojan kill and block gave USC the lead, 17-16. After a Penn State timeout, the score tied two more times before a PSU error and a kill by USC's Tony Cierelli had the Trojans ahead by two, 20-18. USC closed out the set with a 5-0 run for a 25-19 win.
In the second set it was the Trojans who grabbed the early lead, 6-3. Penn State used an early timeout and slowed USC enough to come within two, 8-6. USC responded with a 5-2 run for a 13-8 lead. USC service errors helped keep Penn State within four until a 6-2 Trojan had USC leading, 20-12. Penn State called a timeout and nabbed a point off another USC service error. USC grabbed the next four points, but three straight errors held the Trojans at set point, 24-15. Steven Shandrick finally pounded a kill to earn a 25-15 set two victory.
USC jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third and final set. Two kills from redshirt freshman Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) and three USC errors brought Penn State within one, 6-5, but a 4-0 USC run had the Trojans ahead by five, 10-5. Penn State used two kills from Sunder and one from Goodell to come within three, 12-9, but USC fired back with a 7-2 run for a convincing 19-11 advantage. Penn State used a timeout and USC registered three consecutive errors to bring PSU within five, 19-14. USC called a timeout and regrouped. The teams traded points momentarily as USC moved closer to taking the set. Despite a 3-0 run putting USC at match point, 24-18, a Goodell kill and a USC error kept the set alive. Penn State couldn't develop any late momentum and a dual block by USC's Tanner Jansen and Chris Lischke secured set three for USC, 25-20.
Penn State returns to the east coast on March 17 for a match at Saint Francis. Action is set for 7 p.m.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2012 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.
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