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Feb. 21, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 9 Penn State men's volleyball team is back at home in Rec Hall this weekend. The Nittany Lions hosts EIVA foes George Mason and Princeton on Feb. 22-23, respectively. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. starts. Saturday's match against the Tigers will take place in the South Gym of Rec Hall.
Nittany Lion Preview
The Nittany Lions went 1-1 over the weekend with a 3-0 loss to Harvard, but a 3-0 sweep of Sacred Heart. Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the Lions with 3.33 kills per set on .389 hitting, while junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) averaged 3.00 kills per set. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 10.17 assists per set and Aaron Russell led the Lions with 1.67 digs per set. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) was second on the squad with 1.50 digs per set. Redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) was the leader at the net with 0.67 blocks per set.
For the weekend, Penn State hit .299 and averaged 12.50 kills, 11.33 assists, 0.83 aces, 8.50 digs and 1.67 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. George Mason
Penn State has a long history with George Mason dating back to 1977. The Nittany Lions are 90-14 all-time against the Patriots. Last season, Penn State swept the Patriots on Feb. 25 before recording a 3-1 win on the road against GMU on March 31. The Nittany Lions defeated George Mason a third time in the EIVA Championship, 3-1, to win their 24th EIVA Tournament title. The squads meet against on March 30 at GMU.
Scouting the Patriots
George Mason currently tops the conference standings with a 3-0 record in EIVA play. The Patriots are 5-5 overall. GMU heads into Friday's match having won three straight matches, including defeating Princeton (3-1), Rutgers-Newark (3-0) and NJIT (3-0). Top players to watch for include redshirt-senior outside Andrew Dentler, who leads GMU with 3.74 kills per set, and senior setter Javier Perez, who is averaging 10.33 assists per set. Defensively, senior middle Piotr Dabrowski has a team-best 1.39 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. Princeton
Penn State owns a 46-2 record against Princeton. Last season, after a 3-0 sweep of the Tigers at home in Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions played a full five sets on the road against Princeton. The squads met a third time in the EIVA Semifinals where Penn State again swept the Tigers to advance to the EIVA Championship match.
Scouting the Tigers
Princeton is currently fourth in the EIVA standings with a 2-1 league record. The Tigers are 4-2 overall. Princeton is on a three-match winning streak having defeated Rutgers-Newark (3-0), NJIT (3-2) and NYU (3-10). The Tigers take on Saint Francis on Feb. 22 before coming to State College. Junior outside Pat Schwagler leads the Tigers this season with 4.00 kills per set, while junior setter Davis Waddell paces the offense with 10.10 assists per set. Sophomore libero Tony Ensbury is the top player in the back row with 2.54 digs per set and sophomore middle Will Siroky has a team-high 1.09 blocks per set.
The Nittany Lions are on the road for their next eight matches. Up first are trips to Rutgers-Newark and NJIT on March 1-2. Penn State breaks from conference play for visits to IPFW (3/9), Ball State (3/10) and Ohio State (3/16). Following three additional road trips, Penn State returns home on April 5 to host Lees-McRae.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.