Penn State Men¡¯s Volleyball Pummels NYU, 3-0
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University Park, Pa., Jan. 24, 2003 The seventh-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team pummeled visiting NYU in three games (30-15, 30-21, 30-26) Friday night. The Nittany Lions improve to 1-2 on the season, 1-0 in EIVA Tait division play while the Violets fall to 1-2 overall, 0-1 in the conference.
Junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) led the Lions with 10 kills in the match while seniors Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) and Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) pounded nine and seven kills, respectively, in two games of play. As a team, Penn State recorded 51 kills to NYU¡¯s 29 and outhit the Violets .432 to .157, including a .722 game one hitting percentage. Freshman Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) was perfect on all six of his hitting attempts to hit 1.000 for the night.
The Nittany Lions outblocked NYU 7.5 to 6.0 for the match, including two blocks each from Kowal, senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.), junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) and redshirt freshman Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied a match-high five digs while Koljesar and Guerra notched four and three respectively. Penn State won the digging battle 21 to 10.
The Nittany Lions also came on strong from behind the service line, tallying eight aces to NYU¡¯s two. Guerra posted three winners while Proper added two.
Junior Nate Matthews (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the Penn State offense for two games, dishing out 27 assists before freshman Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) took over in the third game and recorded 18 assists.
Penn State jumped out to an early 10-5 lead in game one behind strong serving from Koljesar and Slenker. The Violets crept back to within five at 13-8 but a kill from Guerra halted the comeback and led to a 9-2 run by the Lions, again aided by Koljesar, who served six straight points. A triple block by Keil, Guerra and Proper gave Penn State the 28-13 advantage before a Violet service error ended the game at 30-15. Guerra and Koljesar both posted five kills on five swings in the stanza as Penn State outhit NYU .722 to -.042. The Nittany Lions produced 15 kills on 18 attacks while recording only two errors.
The second game began with NYU jumping out to a 3-1 lead behind two Penn State attacking errors and a serving error. But the Lions fought back to tie the game at 4-4 with kills from Keil, Koljesar and Kowal. The game remained even before a Guerra ace broke the 9-9 tie and sparked a five point Penn State run to make the score 14-9. From there the Lions pulled away, increasing their lead to 17-11 on a Slenker and Kowal block. NYU fought back to within three at 20-17 but a Guerra kill followed by two Guerra aces gave Penn State the 23-17 advantage. The Lions took game two 30-21 on an NYU attack error. Keil and Guerra posted four kills each while Guerra recorded three aces. Slenker tallied two blocks while Penn State outhit NYU .290 to .130 and notched eight more kills (17-9).
Game three also remained close early, with Meerstein and junior Richard Schneider (Virginia Beach, Va.) knotting the score at 9-9 with a block. The Violets took the 13-11 lead before a Kowal kill and an NYU attack error evened the score at 13-13. Penn State again found itself down 17-15 before a Schneider kill brought the Lions to within one. The teams traded points twice before a Meerstein ace tied the game at 19-19. The teams twice exchanged kills before the Lions took the lead for good at 22-21 on a kill from Proper. A block from Kowal and Dan O¡¯Dell and an O¡¯Dell kill gave the Lions the 24-21 lead before the Lions closed out the game, 30-26, with a kill from junior Josh Mowrey (DuBois, Pa.). Schneider posted five kills in the match while Kowal and Proper added four each. The Nittany Lions hit .406 (19-6-32) in the game, also recording four aces.
Penn State is back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 28 when it takes on St. Francis beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Rec Hall.
For complete match and season statistics and updates, please visit the men¡¯s volleyball homepage on Penn State¡¯s official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com.