Click here for Penn State men's volleyball notes (10 pages in PDF format).
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., March 2, 2005 - The fourth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team heads west to the USCD Invitational on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5. The Nittany Lions take on the host Tritons on Friday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m. PT (11:00 p.m. ET) before facing UC-Irvine on Saturday, March 5 at 5:00 p.m. PT. A live radio webcast will be available for the UCSD match on Friday night at www.GoPSUsports.com.
Last Time Out
Penn State swept both New York University and Springfield last weekend. The Nittany Lions downed the Violets 30-19, 30-13, 30-21 on Friday night, led by Aaron Smith, Kyle Masterson and Andrew Price with seven kills each. Penn State attacked at a .561 clip for the match, including hitting .667 (15-1-21) in the third game alone. Dan O¡¯Dell directed the offense for one game with 12 assists before Luke Murray took over and dished out 25 assists to go along with his two kills and team-leading three service aces. Penn State recorded an astounding 20.0 team blocks in the three-game contest, led by Keith Kowal with eight and Price and Matt Proper with six each. The Nittany Lions produced 36 block assists in the match, compared to 43 team kills.
The following afternoon, Penn State topped Springfield 30-23, 30-20, 30-27, led by Alex Gutor with 10 kills. O¡¯Dell and Murray again split setting duties, with O¡¯Dell providing 18 assists and Murray posting 16. Ryan Walthall and Matt Proper each led the squad with four digs while Kowal again topped the team in blocks with four.
Scouting UC San Diego
The Tritons enter the match with a 0-14 record after dropping matches to No. 11 Pacific and No. 9 Stanford last weekend on the road. Senior outside hitter Luke Honnette leads the squad with 4.02 kills per game while sophomore setter Brooks Dierdorff directs the offense with 10.77 assists per game. Senior libero Dickens Tai leads the team defense with 2.98 digs per game and senior middle hitter Adam Rusch heads the blocking charts with 1.20 blocks per game. As a team, UC San Diego is hitting .185 with 13.21 kills per game, 0.77 service aces per game, 9.12 digs per game and 2.07 blocks per game.
Penn State trails in the series with UC San Diego, 2-1. The last meeting was a five-game Triton victory (35-33, 26-30, 25-30, 30-27, 15-12) on Feb. 7, 2004, in State College, Pa.
Scouting UC Irvine
The Anteaters come into the weekend with a 6-11 overall record and a 4-8 mark in the MPSF after falling to BYU last weekend in four games. Sophomore outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky and freshman outside hitter Jon Steller lead the squad with 3.69 and 3.29 kills per game, respectively. Sophomore setter Brian Thornton directs the offense with 12.30 assists per game and sophomore libero Brandon Mel leads the defense with 2.12 digs per game. Sophomore middle hitter David Smith tops the blocking list with 0.90 blocks per game. As a team, UC Irvine is hitting .296 with 14.70 kills per game, 1.56 service aces per game, 8.07 digs per game and 2.30 blocks per game.
The series between Penn State and UC Irvine is tied at 1-1. The last meeting was a five-game Nittany Lion win (26-30, 28-30, 30-21, 30-26, 18-16) on Feb. 21, 2004.
Please visit www.GoPSUsports.com for more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team.