Penn State Men¡¯s Volleyball Downs St. Francis, 3-1
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University Park, Pa., Jan. 28, 2003 - The ninth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team defeated St. Francis in four games (30-23, 30-27, 28-30, 30-25) to improve to 2-0 in the EIVA Tait division and 2-2 overall while the Red Flash drop to 1-4 on the season and 0-1 in the conference.
Junior Richard Schneider (Virginia Beach, Va.) led the Lions with 13 kills on 22 attempts to hit .500 for the match. Freshman Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) chipped in 12 kills, also hitting .500 and senior Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) posted 10 kills in two games of play.
As a team, Penn State outhit the Red Flash .299 to .225 while recording nine more kills (68 to 59).
Freshman Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the Penn State offense for three games, dishing out 46 assists while also recording a team-leading12 digs for the first double-double of his career. Guerra and senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.) both chipped in five digs.
Junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) led the blocking front with five blocks while Guerra and junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) added four.
Penn State jumped out to the quick 14-6 on a kill from senior Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario). The Red Flash fought to within five at 15-10 but three straight St. Francis errors gave the Lions an 18-10 lead. Penn State went on a 12-5 run to end the game at 30-23 on a kill from Kowal. Guerra led the Lions with six kills while junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) recorded three digs. Penn State outhit St. Francis .375 to .038 for the stanza.
The teams traded points to begin the second game before St. Francis went on a 6-1 lead to take the 7-2 lead. The Nittany Lions clawed back to tie the game at 18-18 on a block by Keil and Koljesar. The teams alternated points until a Koljesar kill gave Penn State the 23-22 lead. A Koljesar kill ended the game in Penn State¡¯s favor, 30-27. Koljesar led the Lions with six kills while Guerra added four on .429 attacking. Slenker tallied five digs while Guerra added four.
Game three remained close early before two straight kills from Schneider gave the Lions the 11-6 advantage. Penn State held onto the lead until a Nittany Lion attack error knotted the game at 21-21. The teams traded points, tying the score six more times until St. Francis took the lead for good with a kill, and ended the game at 30-28. Schneider posted nine kills in the stanza while Dan O¡¯Dell posted five digs. Freshman Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) recorded two service aces in the stanza.
St. Francis broke out to a 10-7 lead in game four. Penn State battled back to tie the score at 11-11. The teams alternated points until St. Francis¡¯ had an attack error to give Penn State the lead for good at 15-14. The Lions went on a 5-1 run capped by a service ace by junior Alex Weaver (Monroeville, Pa.) to make the score 20-16. A block by Meerstein and Proper made the score 27-23 and a Kowal kill ended the set at 30-25. Proper led the Lions with seven kills, two service aces and two blocks while Penn State outhit St. Francis .333 to .195.
Penn State is back in action on Friday, Jan. 31 when it hosts Loyola in a 7:30 p.m. match to be played in Rec Hall¡¯s South Gym.
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.