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March 14, 2014
Redshirt junior Nick Goodell fueled the offense with his third double-double of the season, tallying a team-high 15 kills to go along with a squad-best 11 digs. Senior Peter Russell totaled 12 kills, while junior Aaron Russell also posted double figure kills, adding 11.
Trailing by one early in the opening set, 4-3, Callaway and Goodell sparked a 3-0 strike with back-to-back kills to bring the Nittany Lions ahead by two, 6-4. The Matadors quickly followed with a kill to remain within one, 6-5, but Penn State followed with a 4-1 spurt to go up by four, forcing CSUN to call a timeout.
Penn State came out of the break firing, using a 4-0 streak capped off by consecutive kills from Peter to extend the lead to as many as eight, 14-6. Regrouping, Cal State Northridge answered with two kills and a block to trim the advantage to five, 14-9. Holding off the Matadors, PSU did not let its lead dip below five points as the Nittany Lions rolled to a 25-17 win in set one.
Both Goodell and Russell hit .800 in the opening frame without a single attack error. Goodell led the way with eight kills, helping the squad to a .542 hitting clip in the first stanza.
Cal State Northridge shot out to a 6-2 start in the second set, forcing Penn State to call an early timeout. Penn State came out of the break with a 5-1 run to knot the frame, 7-all. The Matadors pounded a kill to take the lead, but a service error prevented CSUN from settling into an offensive rhythm, 8-8.
Trailing by one after a Matador kill, 9-8, PSU put together a 4-1 streak to capture a two-point lead, 12-10. CSUN rebounded with a 3-0 strike to reclaim the lead, 13-12, but an attack error re-tied the score, 13-13. Keeping it close, the two teams battled through three more tied scores before Aaron lifted the Nittany Lions ahead by one, 18-17, with a kill, causing Cal State Northridge to call a timeout.
Following the break, the Matadors teamed up for a block, followed by two PSU errors to pull away with a slim two-point lead, 20-18. A CSUN service error and a kill from Goodell re-tied the frame, 20-20, but Cal State Northridge connected on a kill to remain ahead, 21-20.
Battling back-and-forth, the two clubs fought through three more knotted scores until Goodell smashed a kill to make it set point, 24-23. Riding the momentum, redshirt freshman Andrew Roberts fired a service ace to secure a 25-23 win in the second set.
The Nittany Lions opened set three on a 5-2 run before the Matadors responded with six unanswered points to pull ahead by three, 8-5. Penn State recovered with a 3-1 streak, capped off by back-to-back kills from Seifert, moving within one, 9-8. Unable to sustain the momentum, CSUN surged ahead by three, 12-9, before Peter cut off the strike with a kill to make it 12-10.
Penn State continued to fight from behind, battling to an 18-all tie after a kill from Seifert and a CSUN attack error. Rallying, Peter pounded a kill and then teamed up with Callaway for a block to put PSU up by two, 20-18, forcing the Matadors to call a timeout. Cal State Northridge came out of the break with a kill, but an attack error and another block by Peter and Callaway kept the Nittany Lions on top, 23-19.
CSUN made one final attempt to mount a comeback with a kill, but a Matador attack error and a kill from Aaron secured a 25-20 win in set three to complete the sweep.
Next up, Penn State will close out the Active Ankle Challenge with a matchup against tournament host, No. 2 Long Beach State. The Nittany Lions and the 49ers will square off Saturday, March 15 at 10 p.m. ET.