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March 28, 2014
Nick Goodell and junior Aaron Russell, the No. 13 Penn State men's volleyball team (16-6, 7-1) powered past Princeton (16-6, 7-1) in straight sets (25-19, 25-13, 25-20) Friday evening at Rec Hall.
"Tonight I think we kept their block off balance and more importantly, I think we kept their defense off balance," head coach Mark Pavlik said. "I thought our serve put them in trouble and I thought overall we played with a relentless attitude."
Russell also led the squad with a team-best .478 hitting clip, adding three aces, five digs and two blocks. Aside from registering his ninth consecutive match with double-digit kills, Goodell logged two aces, three digs and three blocks, to earn Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match honors. Senior Peter Russell ranked second on the squad with five kills on .444 hitting.
Penn State out-hit Princeton .357-.112, as the Nittany Lions limited the Tigers to less than .178 attacking in the first two sets.
Penn State stormed out to an 11-4 lead to take control of an early advantage in the first set, capped off by back-to-back blocks from Aaron and Seifert. Looking to cut off the momentum, the Tigers pounded a pair of kills, but the Nittany Lions answered with three quick points to go up 14-6, forcing Princeton to call a timeout.
The Tigers came out of the break with a 5-1 streak to narrow the gap to four, 15-11, but PSU responded with a kill following a Princeton service error to remain on top, 17-11. Rallying, the Tigers countered with a 5-1 run to arrive within two, 18-16. Aaron smashed two consecutive kills to give the Nittany Lions a four-point cushion, 20-16.
Princeton managed to battle within three, 21-18, but Penn State closed out the set with a 4-1 stretch, finished off by two aces from Aaron to secure a 25-19 win in the opening frame.
Following some early back-and-forth action in the second set, the Nittany Lions cracked open an 8-all tie with a 7-0 run to make it 15-8. The Tigers trimmed the lead back to five, 15-10, with a kill and a block, but Penn State answered with a kill and an ace to remain in control, 17-10.
Later in the frame, The Tigers made one final attempt to spark a run with a kill, 18-12, but PSU closed out the stanza on a 7-1 streak to secure a 25-13 win in the second set for a 2-0 lead in the match.
After the intermission, Penn State opened set three on a 5-2 run. Princeton followed with four unanswered points to capture a one-point lead, 6-5. Callaway cut off the streak with a kill, but the two teams battled to nine more tied scores before two Tiger attack errors lifted the Lions ahead by two, 17-15.
Princeton responded with a 3-1 spurt to keep it within one, 18-17, but a service error and a block from Goodell and Seifert extended the PSU lead to three, 20-17.
The Tigers looked to get back on top with a kill, 20-18, but the Nittany Lions cruised to a 25-20 win in the third set with a 5-2 stretch to complete the sweep.
Next up, Penn State hosts George Mason in its final regular season home match of the season. The Nittany Lions and the Patriots square off at 7 p.m. on senior night in Rec Hall.