No. 8 Penn State Men's Volleyball Falls to No. 7 Lewis, 3-1
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Feb. 8, 2003 - The eighth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team fell to seventh-ranked Lewis in four games (30-21, 27-30, 21-30, 27-30) Saturday night in front of 1,117 fans at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions fall to 5-3 on the season while the Flyers improve to 7-2 overall.
Senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.) pounded a season- and match-high 21 kills on 31 attempts to hit .548 for the match. Seniors Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) and Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) also both produced double-digit kill figures, tallying 16 and 11 kills, respectively. Penn State recorded 65 kills to Lewis' 63 but the Flyers outhit the Lions .400 to .364 for the match.
Freshman Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) earned his first career start, dishing out a career-high 51 assists to go along with his three digs and four blocks. Junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) produced a match-high 11 digs to lead the Lions.
Junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.), who has led Penn State in blocking four times this season, added another tally to that mark, recording a team-high five blocks. Koljesar and junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) both added three blocks but Lewis outblocked the Nittany Lions 12.0 to 9.5.
Penn State recorded seven service aces to Lewis' six, including four by Slenker. Guerra, who finished the match with two aces, surpassed former Nittany Lion Jos¨¦ Qui?ones to become the all-time career ace leader with 101.
Lewis had four player finish with double-digit kills, led by Fabiano Berreto with 17. Victor Bird and Gustavo Meyer added 14 and 13, respectively. Kevin Miller finished the match with nine kills on 10 errorless swings to hit .909 for the match. Setter Jos¨¦ Martins dished out 51 assists while James Elsea tallied a match-high five blocks.
The Flyers opened up a 3-1 lead in the first game before Penn State fought back to tie the game at 11-11. The teams traded points and a block by Koljesar and Keil gave Penn State the lead at 13-12. The Lions, aided by strong serving from Slenker and Keil, went on a 9-2 run to take the 22-14 advantage. The teams again traded points and a Guerra service ace forced a Lewis timeout with the Nittany Lions up 25-16. A Slenker ace ended the set at 30-21. Koljesar and Kowal both tallied four kills as Penn State recorded 15 kills on 21 attempts to hit .667 in the game, compared to Lewis' .214.
The second stanza remained close early, with seven ties before Lewis gained the 12-11 advantage on a Meyer kill. The Flyers used a 5-1 run to pushed their lead to 17-12 but Penn State fought back to within two at 20-18 on a Keil service ace. Lewis faced four game points, due in part to two Slenker aces, before finally taking the game, 30-27 on a kill from Miller. Slenker posted seven kills on nine attempts to hit .778 with three aces while Koljesar added five kills and Mattei chipped in five digs. Lewis outhit Penn State .645 to .371.
A Guerra kill opened up the third game, but Lewis responded with a kill of its own and grabbed the momentum, charging out to a 12-5 lead. Penn State pulled to within five at 16-11 on a kill from junior Richard Schneider (Virginia Beach, Va.) before two Nittany Lion errors forced a timeout at 18-11. Penn State came out of the break by scoring two consecutive points but it was not enough as the Flyers went on to take the game 30-21. Keil and Guerra both tallied four kills as Lewis outhit Penn State .480 to .250 and also outblocked the Nittany Lions 6.0 to 2.0.
Game four began as Lewis jumped out to a 7-3 lead in what looked to be an imitation of the third game. But the Lions fought back and one play seemed to spark the home team. Lewis' Berreto attacked from the left side and was dug by Dan O'Dell's foot. As the ball popped up towards Guerra, the senior kicked the ball over the net and it landed in the middle of the Flyer court to put Penn State down by two, 13-11. Lewis held onto the lead until a Slenker kill tied the game at 19-19. The teams traded points twice before a Meyer kill and a Berreto block forced a Penn State timeout with the Lions down 23-21. After the break, the teams traded points and service errors, and a kill from Kowal brought Penn State to within one at 26-25. The teams exchanged kills twice before a solo block by Meyer gave Lewis the 30-27 game four victory.Slenker pounded eight kills in the game while Guerra added five. Penn State outhit Lewis .265 to .258.
Penn State takes to the road for seven consecutive road matches before returning home on March 4 to face EIVA-rival George Mason at 7:30 p.m.
Please visit Penn State's official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com for updated statistics and news on the Nittany Lion men's volleyball team and Penn State's 28 other sports.