No. 11 Penn State Men¡¯s Volleyball Drops Heartbreaker To No. 9 Ohio State, 3-2
Honolulu, Jan. 20, 2006 ¨C The 11th-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team dropped a marathon five-game heartbreaker to No. 9 Ohio State, 30-22, 24-30, 27-30, 33-31, 17-15 in a match that lasted two hours and 42 minutes. The Nittany Lions fall to 1-4 for the year while the Buckeyes improve to 7-1. All four Penn State losses have come to teams currently ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
Seniors Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) and Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) carried a majority of the Penn State offensive load as both recorded career numbers in the contest. Proper led the Lions with a career-high 27 kills on .373 hitting as Meerstein posted a career-high 21 kills on .613 hitting. Junior Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) was the third player in double-digit kills, recording 19. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .317 clip while Ohio State hit .338.
Sophomore setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) made his second career start in as many nights, dishing out a career-high 46 assists before senior setter Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) took over the setting duties, dishing out 27 assists.
Junior libero Aaron Smith (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded a career-high 16 digs and passed at a .976 clip on 41 reception attempts with only one error. Proper posted seven digs as Gutor chipped in six.
Penn State won the battle from behind the service line, tallying five aces and allowing Ohio State only two. Proper and redshirt freshman Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) each recorded two aces, a career-high for Sweitzer, and freshman Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) chipped in one ace.
Ohio State took the blocking game, 13.0 to 10.0. Holt led the Nittany Lions with five blocks as Meerstein tallied three and Proper and O¡¯Dell each chipped in two.
Stuart Katz led the Buckeyes with 28 kills as Sam Stevens chipped in 14, John Albertson posted 13 and Robert Klein tallied 10. Daniel Mathews dished out 63 assists as Klein led the defense with 14 digs and Stevens tallied 10. Ben Spurlock topped the blocking charts with five stuffs as Albertson and Mathews both recorded four and Stevens and Katz posted three apiece.
A Meerstein kill started Penn State off in the fifth game and following an Ohio State kill, Nittany Lion kills from Meerstein, Proper and two from Gutor gave Penn State the 5-1 lead and forced an Ohio State timeout. A Proper kill continued the streak but a Buckeye kill and block trimmed the Lion lead to three at 6-3. An O¡¯Dell kill off the set from Meerstein and an Ohio State attack error put Penn State up 8-3 at the side change and media timeout. But the Buckeyes came out of the break on fire, taking four of the next five points, three coming on kills, to pull within two at 9-7 and force a Penn State timeout. A Gutor kill out of the break made the Lion cushion three points but consecutive Buckeye kills pulled them to within one at 10-9. A Wentzel kill made it 11-9 and the squads traded points three times before an Ohio State kill and ace tied the game at 14-14. Another Buckeye kill after a controversial Ohio State serving foot-fault no-call gave it match point at 15-14 and a Gutor kill tied the game at 15-15 before a Buckeye kill and block ended the game, 17-15.
Two Meerstein kills and a Proper service ace put the Nittany Lions up 4-2 to start the match. Kills from Gutor, Meerstein and Proper aided Penn State in going up 9-5 but out of an Ohio State timeout, two Buckeye kills and a block trimmed the Lion lead to two at 10-8. A Proper kill coupled with an Ohio State attack error pushed the cushion to four at 12-8 and another Proper kill put the Lions up 15-11 heading into the television timeout. Out of the break, an Ohio State kill and block and a Penn State attack error brought the Buckeyes to within one at 15-14 but a Murray kill, a Proper and Holt block and a Gutor overpass slam gave Penn State the 18-14 lead. The teams exchanged points three times before kills from Proper and Murray forced a Buckeye timeout with the Nittany Lions up 23-17. A Proper ace and another Murray kill extended the margin to 25-17 as kills from Meerstein, Gutor, Proper and Anderson helped Penn State close out the game, 30-22.
A Proper kill pulled the Nittany Lions to within one at 4-3 in the second game but aided by a kill and two Penn State errors, Ohio State grabbed the 9-5 lead and forced a Nittany Lion timeout. Out of the break, a Gutor kill halted the run but the Buckeyes collected four of the next five points to go up 13-7. The squads exchanged kills before a Proper putaway and consecutive Gutor kills pulled Penn State to within three at 14-11. The teams traded kills and Ohio State scored three of the next four to go up 19-13. After another exchange of kills, a Proper putaway, an Ohio State attack error and a service ace from redshirt freshman Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) forced a Buckeye timeout as the Lions trimmed their lead to three at 20-17. Three exchanges of points followed the break and a block from Holt and senior Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) pulled Penn State to within three at 23-21. A Holt overpass kill brought the Lions within one at 24-23 but three Ohio State kills sandwiched a Proper kill to put the Buckeyes up 27-24 and force a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, two Nittany Lion attack errors and a Buckeye block gave Ohio State the game, 30-24.
Ohio State took the 4-0 lead to start the third game before a Holt kill and ace off the tape brought Penn State back to within one at 4-3. The Buckeyes maintained the advantage, going up 10-6 on back to back Nittany Lion errors. A Meerstein kill brought Penn State to within three at 13-10 and the squads exchanged points several times, with a Proper kill and two from Meerstein trimming the Buckeye lead to 19-18. Out of the break, the teams traded kills but another Ohio State kill and a Penn State attack error put the Buckeyes up 22-19. After a Meerstein kill, Ohio State claimed three of the next four points on kills to take the 25-21 advantage. The squads traded points twice and a Gutor kill and a Meerstein overpass kill trimmed the Buckeye lead to two at 27-25 but consecutive Ohio State kills gave it the 29-25 lead. A Buckeye service error and a solo Meerstein block pulled the Lions within two at 29-27 but a Penn State service error ended the game, 30-27.
The Buckeyes again jumped out to the quick lead, going up 4-0 again on two kills, a block and a Penn State attack error. The Nittany Lions fought back to within one at 6-5 aided by Meerstein and Proper kills. Ohio State scored three of the next four points to go up 9-6 on a service ace, its first of the match, but a Gutor kill sparked a 5-0 Penn State run, which included a solo Holt block, as the Lions grabbed their first lead of the game at 11-9. Consecutive Buckeyes knotted the score at 11-11 and a Penn State attack error gave the lead back to Ohio State at 12-11. A Penn State block by Holt and Gutor tied the game at 12-12 and two ties ensued before a Proper kill put the Lions ahead 15-14 going into the television timeout. Ohio State came out of the break scoring the next four points to take the 18-15 lead and following a kill from senior Kevin Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa.), the Buckeyes claimed the next two points on a kill and a block to force a Penn State timeout at 20-16. It was the Nittany Lions¡¯ turn to come out of the break hot, as a Gutor kill, a block from Holt and O¡¯Dell and another Sweitzer ace trimmed the Buckeye lead to one at 20-19 and an Ohio State attack error knotted the score at 20-20. The Buckeyes took three of the next four points but a Proper service ace pulled the Lions to within one at 23-22. The squads traded points six times and an Ohio State kill gave it match point at 29-27 but a Proper kill and monster block knotted the game at 29-29. An Ohio State kill was quickly followed by a Gutor putaway and a Buckeye attack error to give the Lions game point at 31-30. An Ohio State kill evened the score at 31-31 and a Proper kill and a Buckeye attack error gave Penn State the game, 33-31.
The Nittany Lions return home to host NYU on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the south gym of Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.
Head Coach Mark Pavlik: