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Jan. 16, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After returning from opening weekend in Hawaii, the No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team is ready to kick off the home portion of the 2014 slate, hosting No. 14 IPFW and Ball State this weekend. The Nittany Lions will square off against the Mastodons Friday, Jan 17 at 7 p.m., before taking on the Cardinals Saturday, Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. Both matches will take place in the South Gymnasium, located in Rec Hall.
Penn State opened the 2014 season with a 1-2 mark in the Outrigger Invitational. The Nittany Lions dropped a close five-setter against seventh-ranked UCLA before falling in a 3-1 loss to No. 14 Hawaii. PSU rebounded with a 3-0 straight-set victory against No. 12 Ohio State to close out the weekend.
PENN STATE vs. IPFW
The Nittany Lions own a 41-14 advantage in the all-time series against the Mastodons. IPFW claimed a close five-set victory in the most recent meeting between the two teams on March 9, 2013. Within the last 10 years, PSU has compiled an 8-2 record against the Mastodons, having played nine regular-season matches against IPFW within the span.
SCOUTING THE MASTODONS
IPFW is without a loss after recording wins against then-No. 15 Cal Baptist and Sacred Heart in the first two weeks of action. Eddie Rivera earned MIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors after posting 12 kills on .476 hitting in a 3-0 win against Sacred Heart last weekend. Rivera's 22 kills and .400 hitting clip ranks second on the team. Ramon Burgos is at the helm of the Mastodon offense, averaging 4.00 kills per set with a .585 attacking efficiency.
PENN STATE vs. BALL STATE
Penn State is leading the all-time series against Ball State 60-21, despite a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals in 2013. In the last 10 years, the two teams have met nine times, with the Nittany Lions claiming a win in six of the outings. From 2006 to 2010, PSU won five consecutive matches against Ball State.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
BSU is 1-1 on the year, having dropped its season opening match against UC Irvine. The Cardinals rebounded with a 3-0 win against Sacred Heart to even the record. Marci Niemczewski and Kevin Owens are at the helm of the Ball State offense as the two have each recorded at least 11 kills this season. Niemczewski's averaging a team-high 4.00 kills per set as well as a squad-best 1.50 digs per set. Defensively, Matt Leske is atop the blocking unit, averaging 1.17 blocks per frame.
AVCA COACHES POLL - WEEK TWO UPDATE
PSU moved to No. 12 in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll after a 1-2 week against some of the nation's top talent. Penn State is the highest ranked EIVA team in the poll, coming in one spot in front of Harvard. The Nittany Lions were originally tabbed ninth in the preseason poll, before moving to No. 11 after the first week of NCAA men's volleyball action.
GOODELL EARNS OUTRIGGER ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
Redshirt-junior Nick Goodell earned a spot on the 2014 Outrigger Invitational All-Tournament team. The outside hitter recorded three consecutive double-digit kill performances last week, while leading the team in the category twice. Within the three matches, Goodell set a season-high mark with 19 kills on .455 hitting at Hawaii.
Penn State returns to action Friday, Jan. 31st, kicking off a nine-match homestand with a match against Mount Olive at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions will conclude the weekend with a matchup against in-state foe Saint Francis Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.