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April 5, 2014
Peter Russell and redshirt junior Nick Goodell led the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (19-6, 10-1) to a 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-17, 26-24) on the road at Sacred Heart (9-18, 3-10) Saturday evening. The victory marked the Nittany Lions' 14th straight-set victory of the season.
Goodell powered the offense with 12 kills, adding four digs and two blocks. Russell followed close behind with 10 kills on .304 hitting (10-3-23), while also tallying six digs.
Junior Aaron Russell and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway led the PSU blocking effort with three blocks each, while redshirt junior Connor Curry totaled a team-high nine digs. Aaron also notched nine kills, while also recording a career-high six aces in the win.
Penn State jumped out to a 5-1 advantage to take control of an early lead in the first set. Two PSU service errors in between a kill from Peter narrowed the gap to three, but the Nittany Lions followed with a 3-1 spurt to secure a five-point lead, 8-3.
PSU maintained at least a three-point lead, 13-10, until the Pioneers used a 4-0 streak to go up by one, 14-13. A kill from Goodell and a block from Aaron and Callaway pushed Penn State back up by one, 15-14, but another Sacred Heart kill tied the frame at 15-all.
The two teams battled to another two ties before Penn State used a 3-0 strike to pull away from a 17-17 tie with a three-point lead, 20-17. An attack error halted the momentum, but Penn State closed out the frame on a 5-2 stretch to lock up a 25-20 win in the first set.
The Nittany Lions shot out to another hot start in the second set, using a 13-3 streak to build a double-digit advantage. The Pioneers cut off the streak with a 5-2 run to trim the deficit to seven, 15-8. Penn State answered with three consecutive points to build the lead back up to 10, 18-8.
Sacred Heart made one final attempt to spark an offensive rhythm, putting together a 6-3 stretch to cut the lead back down to seven, 21-14. From there, the Nittany Lions did not let their lead dip below seven, wrapping up a 25-17 win in the second set to take a 2-0 lead in the match heading into the intermission.
The Pioneers came out of the break with a 6-2 run to take control of an early lead in set three. Penn State recovered with a 4-1 streak capped off with a triple block from Hammond, Aaron and Callaway to arrive within one, 7-6.
After briefly trading points, the Nittany Lions managed to knot the frame at 10-all, but Sacred Heart broke away with a 3-1 spurt to maintain a two-point edge, 13-11. A kill from Goodell and a SHU attack error retied the score, 13-13. Unable to pull away, the Pioneers went on a 6-3 run to bolster the lead to three, 19-16, forcing Penn State to call a timeout.
Sacred Heart came out of the break with a kill, but Penn State stormed back with four unanswered points to knot the stanza, 20-20, causing the Pioneers to call a timeout. The two clubs continued to trade kills, keeping the frame tied up until Peter and Goodell lifted Penn State to set-point, 24-22, with a pair of back-to-back kills.
A PSU attack error and a SHU block thwarted two attempts, but two Pioneer errors handed Penn State a 26-24 win in set three to complete the sweep.
Next up, Penn State heads to Saint Francis for a midday matchup Saturday, April 12. The Nittany Lions and the Red Flash face off at 2 p.m. in Loretto, Pa.