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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 9 Penn State men's volleyball will open EIVA conference play as the Nittany Lions travel to Loretto, Pa. to take on the Red Flash Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
SCOUTING SAINT FRANCIS (Pa.)
Saint Francis enters Saturday's conference matchup with a 5-7 overall record after dropping two games last weekend.
Saturday's matchup against Penn State will be the fourth time in the last six matches Saint Francis will play a ranked opponent. Despite dropping the first two sets against Fort Wayne, SFU managed to steal a set before falling in a close fourth set to lose 3-1. The following night against Ball State, SFU jumped out to a good start as they kept things close at 1-1.
Ball State eventually applied some pressure and went on to win the last two sets and match, 3-1. Brandon Buck (Baden, Pa./Ambridge) led the Flash with 25 kills.
Senior outside hitter Stephen Braswell (Manchester, Pa./Northeastern) ranks first in the EIVA for the third consecutive week in the number of kills with 112. Braswell also ranks ninth in the NCAA in Aces Per Set with .561.
Against No.13 UC Santa Barbara, Braswell had a season-high 14 kills along with a .491 hitting percentage to help lead Saint Francis to a 3-1 win. Brandon Buck (Baden, Pa./Ambridge) and Cole Thompson (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos) are currently second and third in the EIVA in kills.
PENN STATE IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Penn State is currently ranked in the top-25 in five different team categories including a top-10 ranking in hitting percentage – .326 (7th).
Individually, Jalen Penrose is ranked No. 3 in the nation in aces per set (0.59). Luke Braswell is 12th in the nation in assists per set averaging 9.96.
NITTANY LIONS No. 9 IN LATEST AVCA POLL
Penn State enters week four at No. 9 team in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association DI-II (AVCA) poll.
Penn State (5-2, 0-0) is coming off a 2-0 weekend vs. Ball State and No. 15 Fort Wayne this past weekend in Rec Hall.
Long Beach State remained the No. 1 team in the nation receiving 23 of the 25 first-place votes with a record of 10-0, followed by UCLA (23) at No. 2 (10-1), Hawai'i at No. 3 (8-1), UC-Irvine at No. 4 (11-2) and Ohio State (7-2) rounding out the top-five.
PAVLIK KNOWS HOW TO WIN
In his 24th year at the helm of the program, head coach Mark Pavlik has amassed over 500 wins. Pavlik currently stands at 548-174 for his career.
Penn State returns to University Park as the Nittany Lions take on Sacred Heart Saturday at 7 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. ET Saturday matchup with the Crimson of Harvard.