Penn State Men's Volleyball Tops St. Francis, 3-1
LORETTO, Pa., Feb. 25, 2004 - The 10th-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team topped St. Francis (Pa.) in four games (30-20, 30-23, 28-30, 30-15) Wednesday night in Loretto, Pa. The Nittany Lions improve to 10-4 and 5-0 in the EIVA while the Red Flash fall to 7-11 and 0-7 in league action.
"We were pretty good tonight," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "Our blocking really came together and [St. Francis] had a tough time with it. The third game got away from us as we had different combinations of players on the floor, but overall it was a good match on our part."
Junior middle hitter Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) led the squad with 12 kills on 17 swings (.647) while freshman Alex Gutor (Irving, Texas) chipped in 10 kills. Sophomore Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) posted nine kills in three games while both sophomore Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) and freshman Aaron Smith (Richmond, Va.) tallied eight kills. Senior Josh Mowrey (DuBois, Pa.) fell one kill shy of his career-high six kills, notching five in two games. As a team, Penn State outhit St. Francis, .340 to .126, including .450 to -.034 in the fourth stanza.
Sophomore setter Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the offense for three games, recording 37 assists before freshman Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) took over and dished out 16 assists.
Senior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) topped the defense with a match-high seven digs. Mattei is now just 31 digs away from surpassing Ramon Hernandez (1991-1994) to become Penn State's all-time career dig leader. Hernandez remains in the top spot with 820 career digs while Mattei currently has 790.
Penn State recorded an astounding 20.5 team blocks, its season high for a four-game match. Proper led the way with eight stuffs while Kowal added seven. Junior Phil Small (Lansdale, Pa.) chipped in five blocks while both Smith and Gutor added four.
Chris Kennedy led St. Francis with 22 kills and Brandon Kelly added 13. Jeff Weigers directed the offense with 46 assists and Christian Hartnett topped the defense with seven digs. Matt Heckman and Brent Way posted four blocks apiece as the Red Flash notched 8.0 team blocks in the match.
The Nittany Lions travel to Ohio State on Wednesday, March 3 for a 7:00 p.m. match with the Buckeyes. The contest will be televised by CSTV and will be shown on a tape-delay basis on Saturday, March 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for CSTV availability or visit www.CSTV.com for more information.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.