No. 7 Men¡¯s Volleyball Tops No. 11 Ohio State, 3-1
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., February 1, 2007 ¨C The seventh-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team topped No. 11 Ohio State in four games (30-32, 31-29, 30-27, 30-26) Thursday night in its first home match of the season. The Nittany Lions improve to 3-2 while the Buckeyes suffer their first loss of the year and fall to 7-1.
¡°I thought it was a pretty good first home match,¡± said head coach Mark Pavlik. ¡°We covered a range of situations ¨C from being down big, being up big, coming from behind, holding on to the lead ¨C you name it. Anytime you play the Buckeyes, they¡¯re not going to go away. I¡¯m pleased with the offense, I¡¯m very pleased with the defensive effort and I¡¯m happy with our transition offense. It was a positive match for us.¡±
Senior Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) racked up a career-high 27 kills in the contest, just five shy of the Penn State rally scoring record. Sophomore Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) also set a career mark with 20 kills on .417 hitting as sophomore Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) pounded a season-high 13 kills on .579 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .397 clip in the match, including hitting .481 in the fourth game alone (17-4-27).
Junior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) dished out 56 assists and tied his career best with four kills on five attacks to hit .600. Senior Aaron Smith (Forest, Va.) led the squad with nine digs as Murray and senior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) both notched eight digs, Anderson provided seven and Gutor notched six. The Nittany Lions outdug the Buckeyes 45 to 30 for the contest.
Penn State also edged out Ohio State in the blocking battle, 9.5 to 9.0. Holt led the Lions with five stuffs as Murray tallied four and Smith and freshman Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) posted three apiece.
The Buckeyes claimed the struggle from behind the service line, racking up 12 aces to Penn State¡¯s six, led by Lipsitz and Anderson with two apiece for the Lions.
Dan Meske led Ohio State with 17 kills as Layne Dreven posted 10 and Robert Klein and Sam Stevens both contributed 10. Daniel Mathews provided 55 assists and a team-high four aces as Dreven headed the blocking list with five stuffs.
Ohio State grabbed the 11-8 lead to start the match on a block from Meske and John Albertson. But following a timeout, Penn State battled back to knot the game at 11-11 aided by consecutive Gutor kills. Four ties ensued before a Lipsitz and Anderson block coupled with an Anderson kill gave the Lions the 16-14 advantage. Penn State remained in control, going up 21-16 on a Lipsitz ace and 23-17 on an Anderson ace. A Gutor kill made it 27-22 but Ohio State fought back, sparked by a Meske kill and Klein ace, to pull within one at 27-26. A Holt kill gave Penn State game point at 29-27 but an Albertson kill and Meske ace knotted the score at 29-29. The teams traded kills before a Meske kill and Penn State attack error gave Ohio State the game, 32-30. Gutor posted eight kills in the stanza as Anderson chipped in seven on .667 hitting.
Game two picked up where game one left off, with a kill from redshirt sophomore Jay Stauffer (Lancaster, Pa.) tying the game at 11-11. The game see-sawed back and forth, with a Lipsitz kill putting Penn State up 17-15 before Ohio State claimed the next two points to tie the game. A Buckeye block from Mathews and Dreven gave Ohio State the lead at 24-22 before an OSU attack error and a Gutor kill tied the score at 24-24. A Smith and Lipsitz block put the Lions back on top, 27-26 and another block, this one a triple by Smith, Lipsitz and Anderson, gave Penn State the 29-28 lead. A Dreven kill knotted the game at 29-29 but kills from Smith and Gutor ended the set in the Lions¡¯ favor, 31-29. Gutor posted six kills in the game Penn State hit .400 while holding Ohio State to hitting .161.
Penn State started the third game out on fire, going up 9-2 aided by five kills from Gutor. Consecutive Anderson kills maintained the Lion lead at 17-10 and back to back Gutor put-aways made it 23-14. But consecutive Ohio State aces from Mathews sparked a 7-0 Buckeye run to pull them within three at 24-21. The squads traded points twice and back to back Meske kills evened the score at 25-25. An OSU service error and another Anderson kill put Penn State ahead 27-25 and a Holt kill made it 29-25 before a Buckeye attack error gave the Lions the game, 30-27. Gutor racked up nine kills as Anderson added seven on .538 hitting.
The fourth game featured 10 tie scores before kills from Anderson and Murray gave Penn State the lead at 14-12. Consecutive Lipsitz kills forced an Ohio State timeout at 16-13 and a Holt and Murray block gave the Lions the 19-15 advantage. An Anderson put-away made the score 23-18 before the Buckeyes rattled off the next three points to pull within two at 23-21 and force a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, the teams traded points before consecutive Gutor kills and a service ace from redshirt sophomore Travis Foltz (Westlake Village, Calif.) gave the Nittany Lions the 27-22 advantage. A Smith kill made it 29-24 before a Buckeye attack error gave Penn State the stanza, 30-26. The Nittany Lions attacked at a .481 clip in the game while siding out at 77%.
Penn State remains at home, hosting nearby rival Juniata on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.