No. 8 Men¡¯s Volleyball Falls To No. 7 IPFW, 3-0
FORT WAYNE, Ind.; January 13, 2007 ¨C The eighth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team fell to seventh-ranked IPFW in three games (30-28, 30-28, 30-25) Saturday night in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Nittany Lions even their record to 1-1 while the Mastodons improve to 2-0.
¡°We were down but we kept coming back,¡± said head coach Mark Pavlik. ¡°I¡¯m very heartened and optimistic about this team. Right now, IPFW is better than us. Our offense was better tonight than it was last night, so we¡¯re moving in the right direction. This team has a character about them and when we iron some things out, we¡¯ll be much better. I like where we¡¯re at right now.¡±
Senior outside hitter Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) led the squad with 15 kills on .370 hitting as sophomore outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) chipped in 11 kills on .353 hitting. Sophomore middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) tallied nine kills as redshirt sophomore opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) and freshman middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) each provided four kills. As a team, Penn State hit .326 to IPFW¡¯s .352.
Junior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the Nittany Lion offense with 39 assists and added three kills on an errorless four attempts while seniors Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) and Aaron Smith (Forest, Va.) both led the squad with four digs as Anderson and Murray provided three. Penn State outdug IPFW, 21-16.
The Mastodons claimed the blocking battle, 7.0-6.0. Murray led Penn State with three blocks, all solo efforts. Gutor and Holt both recorded two stuffs of their own.
IPFW also won the serving game, recording eight aces to Penn State¡¯s six. Holt provided two winners for the Lions as Lipsitz, Gutor, Anderson and Sweitzer all tallied one.
C.J. Macias carried IPFW with 18 kills on .312 hitting while Josh Collins and Vitor Oliveria each chipped in seven kills. Josh Stewart led the squad with five blocks.
The first game remained even early on, with a Gutor kill putting Penn State up 11-10. But a Penn State service error and an IPFW service ace by Brock Ullrich swung the score the other way. Another Gutor kill evened the score at 12-12 but a Macias kill sparked a 5-0 Mastodon run to put them ahead 17-12. Penn State chipped away at the hole, pulling within two at 22-20 on a Holt kill and Sweitzer ace. An IPFW block by Lundeen and Oliveria pushed its lead to back to three but kills from Murray and Gutor, along with a Mastodon service error, evened the score at 23-23. The teams traded points and Penn State grabbed the 26-24 lead on an IPFW attack error and a Holt service ace. Out of a Mastodon timeout, the squads exchanged points twice to put Penn State up 28-26 but IPFW kills from Macias and Stewart, a Lion attack error and another Macias kill ended the game, 30-28, in favor of the Mastodons.
Game two picked up where game one left off, with an Anderson kill knotting the game at 11-11. A Penn State service error and a Mastodon kill from Ullrich sparked a 5-1 IPFW run to put it up 16-12. The Mastodons maintained the advantage, going ahead 20-17 on a Macias kill and 25-22 on a putaway from Oliveria. A Murray solo stuff, a Holt service ace and an Anderson kill knotted the game at 25-25 to force an IPFW timeout. Out of the break, Oliveria put the Mastodons ahead 26-25 with a kill before Sweitzer answered with a kill. The squads traded points before kills from Macias and Stewart put IPFW ahead 28-27 and forced a Lion timeout. An Anderson kill out of the break brought Penn State to within one at 29-28 but a Lion attack error ended the game, 30-28.
IPFW grabbed the 14-10 lead in the third set and extended its advantage to 18-12 on a Stewart solo block. Penn State clawed back to pull within three at 20-17 on a Lipsitz kill and an Anderson kill brought the Nittany Lions within two at 22-20. But the Mastodons scored the next three points to go up 25-20 before back to back Murray solo blocks trimmed the IPFW lead to two at 25-23. Out of a Mastodon timeout, an Anderson ace pulled the Lions even closer at 25-24 and the teams traded points and a Murray kill trimmed the IPFW lead to 27-25 before three consecutive Macias kills ended the game, 30-25.
Penn State will host its annual alumni match on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the South Gym of Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions then travel to Hawaii for the Outrigger Invitational on Jan. 26-27, where they will face No. 2 BYU and the fourth-ranked host Warriors in the tournament. Penn State opens up the home slate on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. versus No. 11 Ohio State.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.