No. 5 Men¡¯s Volleyball Earns 10th Straight Win With 3-0 Decision Over Juniata
University Park, Pa., Feb. 15, 2005 - The fifth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team earned its 10th straight win Tuesday night with a three-game decision over Juniata, 30-18, 30-21, 30-24. The Nittany Lions improve to 10-2 and 3-0 in the EIVA Tait while the Eagles fall to 4-6 and 1-3 in conference play.
¡°We continued our disciplined play,¡± said head coach Mark Pavlik. ¡°Juniata setter Ricky Ziegler does a great job getting the ball to the middles and our serving did a good job keeping him off the net to make that harder on him. Our block did a great job also. For February, I¡¯m pretty pleased with where we¡¯re at.¡±
Sophomore Alex Gutor (State College, Pa.) led all players with 12 kills while junior Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) connected on 11 of his 20 attempts with three errors to hit .400. Senior middle hitter Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) posted eight kills on .636 hitting while sophomore Aaron Smith (Richmond, Va.) and junior Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) chipped in seven and six kills, respectively. As a team, Penn State outhit Juniata .364 to .122.
Junior setter Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed action for two games, dishing out 30 assists before freshman setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) took over in the third game with eight assists and adding one kill and two blocks.
Gutor and freshman libero Gary Vogel (Lancaster, Pa.) topped the team defense with five digs each and O¡¯Dell and redshirt freshman Guillermo Fernandez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) posted four digs apiece.
Penn State dominated the Eagles from behind the service line, recording nine aces to Juniata¡¯s three. Smith set a new career high with five while O¡¯Dell, Proper, Fernandez and Murray all added one.
The Nittany Lions also won the blocking battle, 14.0 to 5.5, led by Kowal with eight, including three solo efforts. Proper posted five stuffs and Gutor chipped in three.
Juniata was led by Nathanael Ocasio with 11 kills and Ricky Ziegler directed the offense with 29 assists. Steve Yeager led the squad with six digs and Jeremy Barndt notched three blocks for the Eagles.
Penn State heads to Newark, N.J. and the Rutgers-Newark Golden Dome Classic on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18-19. The Nittany Lions take on IPFW on Friday at 5:00 p.m. before facing Ohio State on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. Penn State returns home on Friday, Feb. 25 to take on NYU at 7:00 p.m.