No. 9 Men¡¯s Volleyball Upsets No. 3 Hawaii, 3-0
HONOLULU, Hawaii, January 27, 2007 ¨C The ninth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team swept No. 3 Hawaii (30-27, 30-24, 32-30) Saturday night to close out action in the Outrigger Invitational. The Nittany Lions improve to 2-2 while the Warriors fall to 2-4.
¡°It was very gratifying to see the team bounce back from the performance they had last night and just put that behind them,¡± said head coach Mark Pavlik. ¡°I thought our offense clicked, our passing was solid and the defense we played tonight may have been the best defensive effort that I have seen from a Penn State team in a long time. To get out of here with a three-game win over Hawaii, I know good things are happening.¡±
Senior Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) led Penn State with 22 kills on .410 hitting as sophomore Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) posted a career-high 18. Senior Aaron Smith (Forest, Va.) and sophomore Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) each contributed six kills, with Smith¡¯s coming on .500 hitting, as freshman Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) connected on five of his seven errorless swings to hit .714. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .348 clip while Hawaii hit .263 for the match.
Junior Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the Lion offense with 50 assists and chipped in nine digs as senior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) led the squad with 10 digs and Smith posted eight. The Nittany Lions recorded 43 digs as a team, with eight of the 10 players providing at least one dig and six having multiple-dig matches.
Penn State outblocked Hawaii, 7.5 to 4.5, led by Anderson with four blocks and Holt and Lipsitz with three each. The Nittany Lions also claimed the serving game as they racked up five service aces ¨C including four by Gutor ¨C while allowing Hawaii only two.
Lauri Hakala led the Warriors with 13 kills as Jim Clar chipped in 12.
Holt was named to the Outrigger Invitational All-Tournament team and was joined by Loyola-Chicago¡¯s James Grunst, Hawaii¡¯s Clar and BYU¡¯s Robby Stowell, Yosleyder Cala, Yamil Perez and Russell Holmes, who was named the Most Outstanding Player.
Penn State started the match out slow, committing five errors to aid Hawaii in taking the 8-3 lead. But a Smith kill and a block from Gutor and Lipsitz helped the Lions gain some momentum and consecutive putaways from Gutor and Smith brought the Nittany Lions within one at 11-10. A Lipsitz kill and a monster block from Anderson and Holt knotted the game at 13-13 before a Gutor kill out of the backrow gave Penn State its first lead of the game at 14-13. The teams traded kills and consecutive Hawaii putaways gave the Warriors the lead at 16-15. Following a Holt kill, the Warriors scored the next three points aided by a kill and block to go ahead 19-16 and force a Nittany Lion timeout. Out of the break, a Gutor kill, a Hawaii attack that landed just a bit outside and a Murray joust kill knotted the game at 19-19. The squads exchanged points three times before a Hawaii service error and an Anderson kill down the line put Penn State ahead 24-22 and strong serving from redshirt sophomore Travis Foltz (Westlake Village, Calif.) coupled with a Hawaii attack error extended the lead to three at 25-22. The squads traded errors before a Warrior kill and Lion attack error trimmed the Penn State lead to one at 26-25. A Gutor kill pushed it to 27-25 and following a Hawaii putaway, two more Gutor kills gave Penn State the 29-26 advantage before a Warrior service error ended the game, 30-27. Gutor led the Lions with nine kills in the stanza.
Two Gutor kills and an ace started off the second game for Penn State as it went up 4-1. Hawaii fought back to tie the game at 4-4 but an Anderson kill and two Warrior errors again gave the Lions the three point lead at 7-4. A Smith kill made the score 8-5 and an Anderson kill following diving defense from Smith and Walthall maintained the lead at 10-7. A Murray and Holt block sparked a four-point Penn State run to put it ahead 14-9 and force a Hawaii timeout. The squads traded points out of the break and the Lions scored three of the next five points, capped by a Lipsitz overpass kill, to take the 18-12 lead. A Holt crowd-awing kill off a 31 put Penn State up 21-15 and a Gutor laser down the line extended the lead to 24-17. A Holt kill made it 28-20 but Hawaii scored four of the next five points before a Gutor kill ended the game, 30-24. Gutor and Anderson both contributed six kills as Penn State attacked at a .395 clip in the game.
Kills from Anderson and Gutor started off the third game for Penn State and another Anderson kill maintained the Lion lead at 7-5. The teams traded points several times before an Anderson putaway gave Penn State the 12-10 advantage. But a Hawaii kill and ace knotted the game at 12-12 before a Gutor kill and Lipsitz solo block put the Lions up 14-12. A Lipsitz kill off a Murray set while falling to the floor made the score 15-13 heading into the media timeout and back to back Anderson kills aided Penn State in going up 18-15. A Gutor kill pushed the lead to 20-17 and another Gutor kill coupled with an ace gave the Nittany Lions the 23-19 advantage. But Hawaii scored four of the next five points to pull within one at 24-23. A Gutor kill out of the backrow pushed the advantage back to two points and another Gutor kill made it 27-25. A Hawaii kill was quickly followed by an Anderson putaway to make the score 28-26 and following a Lion service error, a Gutor kill bounced at 11 feet gave Penn State match point at 29-28. But a Hawaii kill and block evened the score at 29-29 and a Penn State attack error swung the score to the Warriors, 30-29. An Anderson kill knotted the game at 30-30 before a triple block from Anderson, Holt and Smith put the Lions back on top, 31-30. Following a Hawaii timeout, an Anderson and Holt block ended the game, 32-20.
The Nittany Lions open up their home slate on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. against Ohio State at Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.