Penn State Advances to EIVA Final on Saturday
April 29, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-seeded Penn State men's volleyball team secured a 3-0 (30-21, 30-21, 30-27) victory against fourth-seeded Springfield in the EIVA Semifinals on Thursday night. The Nittany Lions (22-7) advance to the conference final on Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. Penn State is set to meet No. 2 seed Princeton, who defeated third-seeded George Mason, 3-1, in the first semifinal.
The Nittany Lions improved to 39-0 in the conference championship in the confines of Rec Hall. Penn State owns an overall record of 58-1 in the tournament dating back to 1986.
Penn State used a balance offense to defeat the Pride (20-11) with four players tallying double-digit kills. Redshirt sophomore Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) led PSU with 15 kills on 19 errorless swings for a career-high hitting percentage of .789. Senior Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) was second on the team with 13 kills, while senior Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) and sophomore Ryan Wolf (York, Pa.) had 12 kills apiece. Redshirt sophomore Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 47 assists and had two blocks. Junior libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) had a team-best nine digs.
Penn State registered a .453 attack percentage and held Springfield to .284. The Lions recorded 56 kills, three aces, 28 digs and 4.0 total team blocks. The Pride finished the match with 41 kills, no aces, 10 digs and 5.0 team blocks.
The first set started out close, but the Pride took an early 8-6 lead. Penn State jumped in front on a 5-1 run for an 11-9 edge. The Pride came within one on five occasions, but a 5-0 PSU run increased the gap to six, 20-14. Lipsitz had two kills in the run, while Price and Wolf each put down one. Despite a kill from SC's Greg Falcone, another Price kill and a Springfield error moved Penn State ahead by seven, 22-5. Springfield called a timeout and fought back to within five, 25-20. However, Penn State allowed the Pride only one additional point. Two Lipsitz kills and a Price ace doomed the Pride in set one as PSU claimed a 30-21 win.
Penn State took control in set two as four errors by SC helped the Lions to a 9-6 lead. Two Wolf kills, one by Lipsitz and an ace from freshman Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) increased PSU's lead to six, 13-7. Springfield called a timeout, but it failed to slow Penn State enough to allow the Pride to close the gap. By midway through the frame, Penn State had a 19-11 advantage after two Sunder putdowns and a solo stuff by Wolf. SC called a second timeout and gained two points off of back-to-back PSU errors. Two straight kills from Wolf, followed by two Springfield errors had the Lions leading by nine, 23-14. Springfield's AJ Nally took charge for the Pride tallying four of SC's final points, but Penn State's attack was too much for SC to combat. Three Sunder kills and one from Price doomed the Pride in the second set and Penn State improved to 2-0 in the match with a second 30-21 win.
The score tied five times in the third set before the Pride used a 6-1 run for a 12-7 lead. The Pride held onto the lead until a 3-0 run by the Lions had the set knotted at 14-14. Two PSU errors put the Pride back in front, but three straight errors by the Pride and a Sunder putdown moved the Lions back in the lead, 18-17. Springfield called a timeout and two consecutive kills by Cal Palumbo put the Pride ahead, 19-18. The score would tie six times with the lead changing hands three times before a Sunder kill put the Lions ahead for good, 26-25. A joint stuff by Sunder and redshirt junior Alan Mars (Rochester, N.Y.) and a Sunder kill helped put PSU in match-point position. Despite a Nally kill, Price closed out the match for PSU with a kill, 30-27.
The winner of the EIVA Championship earns an automatic berth into the NCAA National Championship hosted by Stanford on May 6 & 8. The EIVA winner will join the champion from the MIVA and MPSF, as well as an at-large team determined by the NCAA Volleyball Committee.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2010 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets at Hershey.