No. 9 Penn State Men's Volleyball Downs No. 13 IPFW, 3-1
FORT WAYNE, Ind., Feb. 15, 2003 - The ninth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team downed 13th-ranked IPFW in four games (30-19, 23-30, 31-29, 30-23) Saturday night in Fort Wayne, Ind., in front of 1,238 fans. The Nittany Lions improve to 6-3 on the season while the Mastodons fall to 5-2.
Senior Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) led the Lions with 15 kills while junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) chipped in 14 kills on 19 attempts with one error to hit. 684. Penn State outhit IPFW .327 to .137 for the match while recording two more kills (54 to 52).
Freshman setter Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the Nittany Lion offense with 47 assists while junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) posted a match-high 12 digs in the contest. Junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) tallied a season-high six blocks as Penn State oublocked IPFW 11.5 to 9.0.
IPFW was led by Jeff Ptak with 19 kills while Matt Zbyszewski chipped in 14. Dennis Santiago dished out 45 assists and led the team with six digs while Serdar Sikca notched five blocks.
Penn State jumped out to a 9-3 lead in game one and never relinquished control, extending its lead to 21-9 on a Mastodon attack error. IPFW tried to mount a comeback, going on a 7-1 run to make the score 22-16, but a kill from senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.) stopped the run and Penn State took the first game 30-19 on a service ace from senior Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario). Kowal posted four kills in the set and Koljesar added two aces. Penn State outhit IPFW .286 to -.067.
IPFW used the momentum it gained at the end of the first game to start strong in the second game. The Mastodons grabbed a 13-6 lead on a kill from Ptak. Penn State never scored more than two points in a rotation but pulled to within two at 23-21 on a Kowal kill. IPFW answered with a kill of its own and used a 7-2 run to end the game on top, 30-23. Guerra and Kowal posted four kills in the set but the Nittany Lions gave up four service aces while not recording any.
The third game began with the teams trading points before the Mastodons jumped out to the 7-3 lead. Penn State fought back to within one at 15-14 on an IPFW service error. The Nittany Lions finally took the lead at 25-24 on back-to-back hitting errors by the Mastodons. The teams traded points five times before two IPFW attack errors gave Penn State the game, 31-29. Guerra led Penn State with five kills while Mattei posted five digs. The Lions outhit IPFW .355 to .186 in the set.
While the fourth game began close, Penn State gained a 10-4 lead on a Keil kill and never looked back. IPFW fought back to within six at 16-10 aided by a Penn State service error, but the Lions responded with a kill from Slenker. Keil ended the game with a service ace, 30-23. Guerra and Koljesar both posted three kills while Penn State hit .391 to .138 by IPFW. The Lions also outblocked the Mastodons 4.5 to 1.0, aided by two blocks apiece by Koljesar, Keil and Kowal.
Penn State remains on the road, facing Ohio State on Feb. 16. The Lions return home on March 4 to face EIVA-rival George Mason at 7:30 p.m.