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April 7, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team (20-3, 13-0 EIVA) clinched their 28th EIVA title with a come-from-behind 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-13, 25-21, 15-10) victory Saturday afternoon. Penn State will be the No. 1 seed in the EIVA Tournament and host the semifinals and finals on April 26 and 28 at Rec Hall.
Redshirt senior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) was the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Game after tallying 17 kills .481 hitting with a team-best 11 digs. Redshirt freshman Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) led the Lions with 22 kills, while junior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) posted 10. Redshirt senior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) paced Penn State with 59 assists, while Turko recorded three aces. Redshirt freshman libero Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) and sophomore Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) tied for second on the team with nine digs apiece. Freshman Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the Nittany Lions in blocking with three.
The Nittany Lions registered a .319 hitting percentage, while posting 67 kills, seven aces, 44 digs and 5.0 total team blocks. Harvard hit .221 against Penn State and totaled 45 kills, three aces, 41 digs and 7.5 team blocks.
The first set started out close, but Penn State grabbed a 6-3 lead after three straight Harvard errors. Despite two kills from Harvard's Nick Madden, three Penn State kills and a Turko stuff had the Nittany Lions leading by five, 10-5. After a Harvard timeout, the Crimson embarked on a 7-3 run to close the gap to one, 13-12, and force the Nittany Lions to take a timeout of their own. Harvard followed with a 4-0 run to take a 16-13 lead and send Penn State back to the bench. The Nittany Lions fought to within one, 17-16, but was unable to take control. Harvard used a 6-1 run to reach set point, 24-18. A Goodell kill and a Crimson error prolonged the set momentarily until a PSU service error ended the set in Harvard's favor, 25-20.
Neither team was able to take control early in the second frame until midway through when a 4-1 run by Harvard had the Crimson leading, 14-11. After a Penn State timeout, the Nittany Lions continued to trail by at least two points until a 3-0 run had the Lions within one, 21-20. Harvard called a timeout and slowed the Nittany Lions enough to allow them just one final point. The Crimson closed out the set with a 4-0 run for a 25-21 win.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third frame. The Crimson managed to stay within four, 10-6, but a Turko kill and a Harvard error moved Penn State ahead by six, 12-6. A PSU error and a Harvard ace pushed the Crimson back within four, 13-9. However, Penn State used an 8-2 run, which included a yellow card issued to a Harvard player, to take a commanding 21-11 lead. The run came to an end on a service error by the Nittany Lions, but three consecutive Harvard errors had Penn State at set point, 24-12. The Crimson grabbed final point off a PSU service error before an attack error by Harvard gave Penn State a convincing 25-13 third set victory.
Penn State took a 4-1 lead to begin the fourth stanza. Two kills from Harvard's Matt Jones moved the Crimson within two, 5-3, but a Goodell kill and joint block by Turko and Sunder had Penn State ahead by four, 7-3. Harvard closed the gap to three, 12-9, but soon after a 4-1 Nittany Lion run had Penn State with a six-point advantage, 17-11. Three straight points by Harvard had the Crimson back within three, 17-14. Penn State called a timeout and continued to lead, although Harvard closed the gap to two, 22-20. Matt Jones tallied Harvard's final point before a Sunder putdown and a Crimson error gave Penn State a 25-21 win.
The Nittany Lions took a 3-1 lead, but the Crimson tied it up at 4-4 with a 3-0 run. Penn State answered with a 3-0 run of its own for a 7-4 lead to force a Harvard timeout. Turko pounded a kill to make it 8-5and send the teams to the opposite side of the net. The Crimson came within two twice with two Goodell kills moving Penn State back ahead by three, 10-7. After a furious rally Goodell spiked a huge kill to give the Lions an 11-7 lead. Harvard called a timeout and capitalized on a PSU error and a Madden kill to move within two, 11-9. The Nittany Lions used a timeout and closed out the set on a 4-1 run for a 15-10 win.
The Nittany Lions travel to BYU for back-to-back matches on April 13-14. Both matches are scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. Penn State celebrates Senior Night on April 21 at 7 p.m. vs. Saint Francis.
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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