Feb. 27, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off an undefeated 11-match homestretch, the No. 10 Penn State men's volleyball team (12-2, 5-0) will hit the road for a pair of EIVA conference matchups. Ranked first in the league, the Nittany Lions take on Princeton (2-6, 1-1) Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. before visiting George Mason (6-6, 2-2) Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
WEEK SEVEN IN REVIEW
The No. 10 Penn State men's volleyball team capped off an 11-match homestand with a pair of victories last weekend to take sole possession of first place in the EIVA conference. The Nittany Lions powered past Sacred Heart and Harvard to extend the PSU winning streak to 12 consecutive matches. The stretch of victories stands as the longest active DI men's volleyball winning streak nationally. PSU has also knocked off its last six consecutive opponents in straight sets.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE AVCA COACHES POLL - WEEK EIGHT UPDATE
Following the 2-0 weekend at home, PSU moved up two spots to No. 10 in the latest AVCA DI-II Top 15 Poll. Prior to the repositioning, PSU spent the last six consecutive weeks at No. 12. Additionally, Penn State is the only EIVA team to be ranked within the top 15.
PENN STATE VS. PRINCETON
The Nittany Lions own a 49-2 advantage in the all-time series against the Tigers. Throughout the 36-year history between the two teams, Penn State has lost surrendered two matches to Princeton, having claimed a win in the last 36 consecutive matches. In 1998, the Nittany Lions went 1-1 in the regular season against the Tigers before dropping a 3-0 decision in the EIVA championship match.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Princeton recently improved to 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the conference after defeating Rutgers-Newark in straight sets at home on Tuesday evening. The win marked the second consecutive victory for the Tigers, who also defeated UC Santa Cruz in straight sets. As a team, Princeton is averaging 12.84 kills per set, which ranks second in the league. Cody Kessel and Pat Schwagler are both at the helm of the offense, leading with at least 3.13 kills per set. Kessel's 3.44 kills per frame ranks second in the conference and 23rd nationally.
PENN STATE VS. GEORGE MASON
PSU holds a 92-14 record in the all-time series against the Patriots. The Nittany Lions have captured wins in the last 13 matches against George Mason, with the most recent loss dating back to March 7, 2008. Since 2008, the Patriots have been one of only two conference teams to defeat PSU in EIVA action.
SCOUTING THE PATRIOTS
George Mason enters the weekend looking to extend its two-match conference winning streak. Last weekend, the Patriots knocked off NJIT and Rutgers-Newark in straight sets to move to an even 6-6 on the year and 2-2 in the EIVA. Hunter Stevens and Jack Wilson are at the helm of the GMU offensive production, as Wilson's 2.95 kills per set ranks seventh in the conference and Stevens' .421 hitting clip leads the EIVA. Stevens is also atop both the national and league standings averaging 1.63 block per frame. The Patriots' 3.13 total blocks per set also ranks first in the conference and first nationally.
A CLEAN SWEEP
Penn State has earned nine of its victories in straight-sets this season, putting together a 9-0 mark in three-set matches. Having swept its last six consecutive opponents, PSU is looking to extend its streak of straight-set wins this weekend on the road. In 2013, the Nittany Lions recorded 15 3-0 wins.
STRETCHING THE WINNING STREAK
Following a pair of wins against Sacred Heart and Harvard, the Nittany Lions stretched their current winning streak to 12 consecutive matches, which presently stands as the longest active DI men's volleyball winning streak in the nation. Penn State is six wins shy of matching the longest winning streak in program history. In 2008, Penn State shot out to an 18-match winning streak, tying the longest streak in PSU history that was originally set by the 1981 squad, and matched again by the 1982 team.
The Nittany Lions will continue their seven-match road test, traveling to Ohio State for a non-conference Big Ten battle Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m. Penn State will head to the west coast the following week, traveling to Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State for matches on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15.