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March 30, 2012
PRINCETON, N.J. - In a thrilling five set match, the eighth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team survived a scare from Princeton coming away with a 3-2 (23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 37-35, 15-12) victory. Penn State remains undefeated in the EIVA with a 10-0 record and moves to 17-3 overall.
Redshirt senior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) posted a team-high 25 kills, while freshman Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) tallied 14 with only one error in 18 swings for a .722 hitting percentage. Redshirt senior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 66 assists and junior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) posted two aces. Redshirt freshman Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a career-high 21 digs and four Nittany Lions managed two blocks apiece.
Penn State hit .277 against the Tigers and totaled 77 kills, seven aces, 43 digs and 6.5 total team blocks. Princeton (10-13, 5-5 EIVA) registered a .299 hitting percentage and finished the match with 62 kills, two aces, 33 digs and 15.5 total team blocks.
The Nittany Lions took the lead to start the first set, leading by five, 17-12 more than midway through the frame. Jeff Stapleton pounded a kill to spark a 5-1 Princeton run, which brought the Tigers within on, 18-17. The Nittany Lions continued to maintain a slim lead until back-to-back kills and a PSU error moved the Tigerse into the lead, 22-21. Another PSU error gave Princeton a two-point cushion, 23-21. Despite two kills from Sunder, a service error by the Lions and a kill from Princeton's Cody Kessel gave Princeton a 25-23 first set win.
Penn State took a 6-3 lead to start the second frame forcing and early Princeton timeout. Halfway through the set the Tigers knotted the score at 12-12. The score tied twice more before a solo stuff by Goas and a Princeton error gave Penn State a two-point edge, 16-14. Princeton managed to tie it one final time at 16-16 before a block by sophomore Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) and a Tiger error moved Penn State into the lead, 18-16. Princeton called a timeout, but Penn state continued to charge toward the second set victory. Leading by three, 23-20, and despite two PSU errors, two more service errors by the Tigers gave Penn State the 25-22 win.
The Nittany Lions once again took the early lead in the third stanza, but a little more than midway through the set Princeton had tied it up at 14 all. The score tied five times with a Kessel kill and a PSU error moving the Tigers ahead by two, 21-19. However, a Princeton service error and two straight Penn State kills had the Lions back on top, 22-21. Penn State called a timeout and a Princeton block has the score at 22-22. Two PSU errors moved Princeton into set point position, 24-22. Junior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) hit one final kill for PSU before a triple block by the Tigers gave Princeton a 25-23 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was much like the first three. Penn State had the early lead only to see the Tigers fight back in and stay neck-and-neck with the Nittany Lions. Princeton had a slim 16-15 lead when Penn State called a timeout. It failed to faze the Tigers and neither team was able to break away to form a strong lead. Penn State called its second time out with Princeton at set point, 24-23. Kills from Sunder and Russell kept the set alive and forced Princeton to burn its final timeout with Penn State leading 25-24. Neither team was willing to quit the fight and the score tied 11 additional times. Princeton always regained the slim lead as the lead only changed hands twice. With the score tied on last time at 35-35, Turko pounded a kill to move Penn State into the lead, 26-25. Sunder closed out the set for Penn State with a kill for a 37-35 triumph.
The Nittany Lions grabbed a 6-0 lead to start the fifth and deciding set. Princeton used a 4-1 run to narrow the gap to three, 7-4, and send Penn State to the bench for a timeout. Goodell recorded a kill to mark the halfway point of the set and the teams switched sides. The Tigers came as close as two, 10-8, but a 4-1 run by the Lions kept Princeton at bay and had Penn State at match point, 14-9. Princeton held Penn State for two points and Penn State called a timeout still leading by two, 14-12. Aaron Russell pounded one final kill for Penn State to secure a 15-12 fifth set win.
Penn State is back in action tomorrow at George Mason at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions return home after their seven-match road trip on April 6-7 when they host Sacred Heart and Harvard at Rec Hall.
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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