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March 21, 2014
Nick Goodell and junior Aaron Russell, the No. 14 Penn State men's volleyball team (14-6) dropped a 3-1 decision (25-23, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22) on the road against top-ranked Loyola-Chicago (18-1).
Russell tallied a team-high 18 kills on .452 hitting, adding two aces, and a squad-best nine digs and two blocks. Goodell registered 13 kills, marking his seventh consecutive match with double figure kills this season. Senior Peter Russell and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway tallied seven kills apiece, while Callaway tied a team-high mark with two blocks.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hammond dished out 41 assists, while also finishing second on the squad with seven digs.
Tied at 3-all early in set one, Callaway connected on a kill before capitalizing on a Loyola attack error to move ahead, 5-3. The Ramblers managed to re-tie the score at 5-all with a 3-1 spurt, but the Nittany Lions answered with a 5-2 stretch, 10-7, forcing Loyola to call a timeout. Following the break, the Ramblers continued to remain close behind, before attempting to spark a run after a PSU service error, 14-13.
After thwarting the attempt, Loyola moved within one two more times, 17-16, before Russell and redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert teamed up for a block and an ace to make it 19-16, causing the Ramblers to use another timeout. Loyola responded with a kill before a PSU error brought the Ramblers back within one, 19-18. Regrouping, Penn State put together a 5-3 streak to make it set-point, 24-21. Loyola held off two consecutive attempts, but a ball handling error secured a 25-23 win for the Nittany Lions.
After battling back and forth early in set two, Penn State broke open a 7-all tie with a 3-0 strike to take control of the lead, 10-7. The Nittany Lions couldn't shake the Ramblers for good as the two teams tied the frame six more times before Loyola broke open a 16-16 tie with five unanswered points to surge ahead by five, 21-16.
A Loyola service error slowed the momentum, but the Nittany Lions could not settle into an offensive rhythm as the Ramblers rolled to set-point, 24-19. Another service error thwarted the attempt, but a Loyola kill handed the Ramblers a 25-20 win to even the match, 1-1.
Loyola carried the momentum into the third stanza, shooting out to a 5-2 advantage. Callaway connected on a kill to halt the attack, but the Ramblers answered with two more kills to make it 7-3, causing the Nittany Lions to call a timeout. Penn State came out of the break with a 3-1 strike to shave the lead back to two, 8-6. PSU couldn't sustain the run as Loyola bolstered its lead to five, 13-8, on a 5-2 streak.
Penn State managed to cut the advantage back to four, 14-10, helped out by a pair of kills from Peter and Goodell, but Loyola followed with another 5-2 run to go ahead by seven, 19-12. Rallying, PSU responded with a 5-2 stretch of its own to narrow the gap to five, 22-17. Unable to continue the streak, the Ramblers closed out the frame on a 3-2 stretch to take set three, 25-19.
After keeping it tight in the opening part of the fourth set, the Nittany Lions and the Ramblers traded two kills apiece, to put Penn State within two, 14-12. PSU continued to hang on, remaining close behind until a Nittany Lion servicer error and a Loyola ace moved the Ramblers up by four, 20-16, forcing Penn State to call a timeout.
Unable to climb on top, Loyola fought to match-point on a 4-3 stretch, before two consecutive kills from Aaron made it 24-21. A Rambler attack error held off another attempt, but the PSU comeback fell short as Loyola wrapped up the victory with a 25-22 win in set four.
Thomas Jaescheke paced the Ramblers with a match-high 19 kills on .515 hitting, while Cody Caldwell followed closely behind with 18 kills.
Next up, Penn State travels to No. 10 Lewis to take on the Flyers, Saturday March 22nd. First serve is slated for 8 p.m. ET.