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Redshirt junior Joe Sunder
April 28, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-seeded Penn State men's volleyball team earned a 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-16, 25-19) victory against Rutgers-Newark in the EIVA Semifinals Thursday night. The Nittany Lions (23-7) advance to the conference final on Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. Penn State is set to meet No. 3 seed Springfield, who defeated George Mason, 3-1, in the first semifinal.
The Nittany Lions improved to 41-0 in the conference championship in the confines of Rec Hall. Penn State owns an overall record of 60-1 in the tournament dating back to 1986.
Two Nittany Lions posted double-digit kills to defeat the Scarlet Raiders (17-12) with redshirt junior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) tallying a match-high 11 kills and sophomore Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) posting 10. Redshirt junior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 41 assists and was second on the team with three blocks. Senior Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) registered a team-best 11 digs and sophomore Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) recorded five total blocks.
Penn State finished the match with a .233 attack percentage with the Scarlet Raiders not far behind at .205. The Nittany Lions totaled 47 kills, eight aces, 25 digs and 7.0 team blocks. Rutgers-Newark closed out the night with 33 kills, two aces, 25 digs and 10.5 team blocks.
The Nittany Lions dominated set one from the start, jumping out to a 10-1 lead. The teams traded service errors and Rutgers-Newark fought to within seven, 15-8. However, a 4-0 run pushed Penn State ahead by 11, 19-8. Rutgers-Newark answered back with a 4-1 run to be within eight, 20-12. Goas and Comfort each tallied a kill before two Penn State service errors sandwiched a RN service error. Senior Alan Mars (Rochester, N.Y.) put Penn State in set point position before a Scarlet Raider attack error secured set one for PSU, 25-14.
Set two began in a dramatically different fashion than the first with Rutgers-Newark leaping out to an 11-0 lead and forcing Penn State to burn both of its timeouts. Junior Ryan Wolf (York, Pa.) pounded a kill to put the Lions on the board. The teams traded points until a 4-0 Nittany Lions run had Penn State closing the gap to seven, 13-6. After a Scarlet Raider timeout, RN increased its advantage back to 10, 18-8. The Nittany Lions were unable to recover and Rutgers-Newark claimed set two, 25-16.
The third frame started out close with the score tying five times before Penn State grabbed a 9-6 lead after a block and kill from Comfort and a RN error. The Scarlet Raiders fought to within one, 10-9, but Penn State was soon up by four, 15-11, after a 3-0 run. Despite a Rutgers-Newark timeout, Penn State's lead continued to grow thanks to a 5-2 run. Kills from Sunder and Mars and a Turko ace had Penn State ahead by seven, 20-13. Rutgers-Newark called a second timeout, but it failed to faze the Lions. Three RN errors and kills by Comfort and Wolf gave Penn State a 2-1 lead in the match with a convincing 25-16 win.
Rutgers-Newark took a slim 2-1 lead to start the fourth and final stanza, but Penn State soon had a 6-3 lead after three straight Scarlet Raider errors. Rutgers-Newark came within two, 7-5, but that was the closest the Scarlet Raiders would come to taking the lead for the remainder of the set. With Penn State leading 12-6, RN called a timeout and used a 3-0 run to come within four, 13-9. Penn State used a 5-2 run to move ahead by seven, 18-11. The teams went back and forth but Penn State always maintained control. With the Nittany Lions leading 23-18, Rutgers-Newark called its final timeout. Sunder pounded one final kill for the Nittany Lions before a RN service error ended the set and the match in PSU's favor, 25-19.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2011 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets at Hershey.
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