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April 26, 2014
Tomorrow, the NCAA selection committee will reveal the seeding of the six teams that have qualified for NCAA post season play. The top two seeds will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA National Semifinal match Thursday, May 1, while seeds three through six will play in a pair of Play-in matches Tuesday, April 29 to round out the four-team field for the National Semifinals. The selection show airs Sunday, April 27 at 11 a.m. on NCAA.com.
Redshirt junior Nick Goodell powered the Penn State offense with a match-high 15 kills to earn 2014 EIVA Championship Most Outstanding Player honors. Junior Aaron Russell followed closely behind with 14 kills and a match-high five aces to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Senior Peter Russell and redshirt junior Connor Curry anchored the defense with a team-high eight digs each. Redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert and redshirt freshman Matt Callaway led the blocking unit with two blocks each.
Trailing by one, 5-4, early in set one, Penn State used a 3-1 spurt to pull ahead with a one-point lead, 7-6. Cody Kessel answered with two consecutive kills to put the Tigers on top, 8-7, but pair of Princeton errors lifted the Nittany Lions back up by one, 9-8. The Tigers then used a 2-1 stretch to keep the frame knotted, 10-all.
Regrouping, PSU used a 5-1 run, featuring back-to-back kills from Aaron to construct a four-point lead, 15-11. Princeton cut off the streak with two quick points, but Aaron responded with two more kills to keep PSU on top, 17-13, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout.
Following the break, Princeton put together a 3-1 spurt to shrink the deficit to two, 18-16, but a kill and an ace from Seifert brought the Nittany Lions up by four. Unable to sustain the momentum, the Tigers followed with five unanswered points to reclaim the lead, 21-20. Goodell cut off the streak with a kill, but another Princeton kill made it 22-21. Trailing by one, Peter sparked a 3-0 strike that carried Penn State to set point, 24-22. Princeton held off one attempt with a kill, 24-23, but Aaron closed out the frame with a kill down the line to secure a 25-23 win.
Penn State shot out to a 6-3 start in set two for a comfortable lead before Princeton connected on two consecutive kills to narrow the gap to one, 6-5. Callaway pounded a kill to break up the rhythm, but the Tigers answered with a 5-2 run to pull ahead, 10-9. A service error halted the momentum, but the Tigers continued to pull away, using a 3-1 streak to make it 13-11. Penn State recovered with a 3-1 stretch to tie the stanza, 14-14.
The two teams tied the frame three more times before the Nittany Lions cracked open a 17-all tie with a 5-0 streak, featuring two kills from Goodell to move ahead by as many as five, 22-17. Princeton made one final attempt to mount a comeback with two quick points, but a Penn State rolled to a 25-19 win with an ace and a kill from Goodell to go up 2-0 in the match.
The two teams kept it tight early in three until Penn State used a 2-1 stretch to construct a two-point lead, 10-8. Rebounding, Princeton opened up on a 6-2 streak to go up by two, 14-12. Penn State quickly recovered with a 7-2 run to take control of a three-point lead, 19-16. Two PSU errors disrupted the rhythm, pushing Princeton to within one, 17-16, but a kill from Aaron and solo stuff from Seifert gave PSU some distance, 19-16.
The Tigers made one final attempt to mount a comeback with a kill, but Seifert sparked a 6-1 run that propelled the Nittany Lions to a 25-18 win in the third set to complete the sweep. Aaron clinched the title for PSU with three consecutive aces down the stretch to round out the victory.