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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 15 Penn State men's volleyball is set to square off against No. 9 Loyola (3-2) Thurs., Jan. 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET, before taking on Lewis (3-1) Fri., Jan. 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Rec Hall.
PENN STATE VS. LOYOLA
Loyola carries a record of 3-2 over their first five matches and will be playing on the road for the first time in 2017 when they travel to Penn State.
To this point, the Ramblers and Nittany Lions have one common opponent - UCLA. Loyola also fell to the Bruins in three sets. Loyola’s two most recent matches were against Pepperdine and EIVA member Harvard last weekend. Pepperdine handed the Ramblers a 3-2 defeat on Jan. 13 before Loyola rebounded to post a sweep of Harvard the following day.
Collin Mahan leads Loyola with 45 kills hitting .304, adding 28 digs on the defensive side of things.
PENN STATE VS. LEWIS
Lewis has opened the 2017 season three of its four matches and will be playing on the road for the first time this season as they travel to Happy Valley.
Lewis opened the season with a loss to 2016 NCAA runner up BYU before rattling off three straight wins against NJIT, Pepperdine and Pepperdine.
Ryan Coenen leads Lewis with 57 kills hitting .256 averaging 3.56 kills per set.
PENN STATE IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Penn State is currently ranked in the top-25 in five different team categories including top-10 rankings in Kills per Set - 13.00 (9th), Digs per Set – 2.36 (10th) and Assists per Set - 12.47 (7th). Individually, Chris Nugent is ranked 13th in the nation in Points per Set (4.40) and sixth in the nation in Kills per Set (4.13), while Royce Clemens is fourth in the nation in Digs per Set averaging 2.93. Luke Braswell is fifth in the nation in Assists per Set averaging 11.00.
NITTANY LIONS 15TH IN LATEST AVCA POLL
Following a 3-1 loss at Ball State paired with a clean sweep of IPFW, Penn State men's volleyball checked in at No. 15 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll.
Penn State (2-2) is coming off a weekend split with Ball State and IPFW on the road.
Defending national champions Ohio State remained the number one team in the nation receiving all 24 first-place votes, followed by UCLA at No. 2, BYU at No. 3, Long Beach State at No. 4 and Hawai'i rounding out the top-five.
PENN STATE VOTED EIVA PRESEASON NO. 2
The Penn State men's volleyball team, 18-time defending Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) champions, were selected as the preseason No. 2 as voted by the league's eight head coaches Monday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions, who finished the 2016 season 19-10 advancing to the EIVA Semifinals, received 54 points and one of the eight first-place votes. George Mason, led by former Nittany Lion assistant coach Jay Hosack - the reigning EIVA Champions from the 2016 season - received seven of the eight first-place votes.
The Patriots captured 63 points as voted by the league's eight head coaches. Rounding out the top-three is Saint Francis (Pa.), who fell to George Mason in the EIVA Championship match last season in Rec Hall, taking home 49 points in this year's poll. Princeton and NJIT were separated by one point as the Tigers earned 33 points to place fourth and the Highlanders secured 32 points to claim the fifth spot in the preseason poll. Harvard is sixth with 29 points; Sacred Heart has 19 points in seventh, while Charleston (WV) rounds out the poll with nine points in eighth-place.
ANDERSON, HOLT, AND RUSSELL CAPTURED BRONZE MEDALS FOR TEAM U.S.A AT 2016 RIO OLYMPICS
Earlier this year Nittany Lion alums Matt Anderson, Max Holt, and Aaron Russell earned bronze medals as a part of the U.S. Men’s Volleyball National Team at the summer Olympic Games in Rio.
PAVLIK KNOWS HOW TO WIN
In his 23rd year at the helm of the program, head coach Mark Pavlik has amassed over 500 wins. Pavlik currently stands at 524-164 for his career.
FRESH FACES ON THE COURT IN 2017
The defending EIVA regular season champion men’s volleyball team returns a core group of eight letterwinners and four starters this year, while welcoming five freshmen to the roster.
The new additions include 6-10 MB/OH Cameron Bartus from West Seneca, N.Y., Declan Pierce, a 5-10 Libero from Buffalo, N.Y., Kyle Mackiewicz, a 6-8 OPP/MH from Edison, N.J., Bobby Wilden, a 6-8 OH/MH from Ashburn, Va. and Nathan Smith, a 6-5 setter from Los Altos, Calif.
Penn State hits the road to Columbus, OH foe the second time this season as they take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State Tuesday, Jan. 24 at St. John Arena at 7 p.m.