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March 23, 2013
LORETTO, Pa. - The No. 13 Penn State men's volleyball team (15-6, 9-1 EIVA) earned a convincing 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-19) win at Saint Francis on Saturday night. Three Nittany Lions posted double-digit kills against the Red Flash (8-13, 5-5 EIVA).
Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) had a match-high 13 kills with zero errors in 21 swings for a .619 hitting percentage. Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) was second on the team with 12 kills and senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) posted 11. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 36 assists, led the team with two aces and also tallied three blocks. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) recorded 12 digs and redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) tied with Hammond with three blocks.
The Nittany Lions finished the match with an impressive .412 hitting percentage. Penn State totaled 45 kills, three aces, 24 digs and 6.5 total team blocks. The Red Flash hit .227 with 31 kills, 17 digs and 6.0 blocks.
Penn State grabbed a slim lead to start the match going up 10-7. By midway through the set thanks to kills from Aaron and Peter Russell, Penn State had a four-point lead, 14-10. Saint Francis used a timeout, but two more Penn State kills increased the Lion lead to five, 16-11. As the set continued on Penn State maintained at least a three-point lead. Penn State's lead increased to six, 23-17, but two PSU service errors sandwiching an Aaron Russell kill moved the Red Flash within five, 24-19. However, Saint Francis was too far behind to hold the Nittany Lions for long and a service error secured set one for Penn State, 25-19.
The Nittany Lions grabbed the lead early in se t two and were ahead 8-5 when Saint Francis called its first timeout. Saint Francis managed to narrow the gap to one, 13-12, forcing a Nittany Lion timeout. The Red Flash kept it close until a 5-1 Nittany Lion run gave Penn State a 21-16 advantage. Saint Francis called a second timeout, but it failed to slow the Lions. Two Peter Russell kills and a Hammond ace put the Lions at set point, 24-18. A Saint Francis error closed out set two for PSU, 25-18.
The third set began much like the first two as Penn State took the lead. The Lions had a 6-3 lead when the Red Flash headed to the bench. A 3-0 SFU run knotted the score at 6-6, but two PSU kills and a joint block from Hammond and Seifert pulled the Nittany Lions back ahead by three, 9-6. Saint Francis moved within two, 12-10, but three straight PSU points had the Lions up by five, 15-10. Saint Francis was unable to come any closer than four points before a kill from senior Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) and another Hammond ace increased Penn State's lead to six, 21-15. Saint Francis used its second timeout, but it didn't faze PSU. Two Aaron Russell putdowns and a Red Flash error had the Lions at match point, 24-18. Saint Francis put down one final kill before Seifert pounded a kill to claim the set, 25-19.
Penn State continues EIVA play with trips to Princeton and George Mason on March 29-30. The Nittany Lions return home on Friday, April 5 to host Lees-McRae at 7 p.m. on Senior Night.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.