Penn State Men's Volleyball Falls To UC San Diego, 3-2
University Park, Pa., Feb. 7, 2004 - The Penn State men's volleyball team dropped a heartbreaker to UC San Diego in five games (33-35, 30-26, 30-25, 27-30, 12-15) Saturday night at Rec Hall to close out the Penn State Invitational in front of 1,621 fans. The Nittany Lions fall to 6-4 while the Tritons even their record at 5-5.
"USCD did a good job on Keith [Kowal]," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "We had our chances. When it's 7-7 in the fifth game, we have to make plays. Offensively we're starting to do things. We'll find a way to get through it."
Junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) led four Penn State players in double-digit kills with 23 while sophomore Kevin Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) posted 17, sophomore Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) added 15, sophomore Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) chipped in 10 and freshman Alex Gutor (Irving, Texas) posted a career-high eight. Penn State hit .318 to .340 for UCSD.
Sophomore setter Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) dished out 63 assists while senior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied a match-high 14 digs.
Penn State won the blocking battle, 16.5 to 12.5, led by Proper with nine and Kowal with eight.
The Tritons were vicious from behind the serving line, racking up nine aces, including three each from Adam Toren and Andy Rupp.
For UCSD, Jeff Urton recorded 22 kills as Toren and Kevin Keyser posted 20 and 16, respectively. Nate Jones dished out 68 assists and both Toren and libero Tai Dickens notched 10 digs. Rupp and Shawn Oksenendler both recorded six blocks for the Tritons.
In the first match of the evening, defending national champion Lewis outlasted Southern California in five games (26-30, 22-30, 30-28, 30-20, 15-12) to improve to 6-5 for the season while the Trojans fall to 2-10.
Enrique Escalante led Lewis with 21 kills as Jeff Soler added 15 and Fabiano Barreto posted 14. Brandon Sisk directed the Flyer offense with 53 assists while libero Ryan Stuntz posted 12 digs. Lewis outblocked USC, 21.5 to 9.0, led by Escalante with 12 blocks and Barreto with seven.
USC was led by Blake Tippett with 18 kills as Joao Grangeiro posted 16 and Pedro Leal added 15. J.T. Gilmour dished out 53 assists and Grangeiro racked up a match-high 16 digs. Chris McKniff led the Trojans with seven blocks.
Penn State remains at home, facing St. Francis on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.
Please visit www.GoPSUsports.com for more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team.