Penn State Men's Volleyball Outlasts George Mason, 3-2
University Park, Pa., March 4, 2003 - Behind senior Carlos Guerra's (Tamaulipus, Mexico) 32 kills, the 10th-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team defeated George Mason in five games (30-28, 28-30, 30-19, 25-30, 15-12) in a match that lasted two hours and seven minutes. The Nittany Lions improve to 13-3 and remain perfect in the EIVA Tait division at 9-0 while the Patriots fall to 10-7, 8-1 in conference action.
With the win, head coach Mark Pavlik earned his 200th career victory. Overall, Pavlik owns a mark of 200-69 and an 89-2 record in the EIVA in nine seasons.
Guerra's 32 kills sets a new Penn State rally-scoring-era record for kills in a match. The previous record was 31, set by Guerra against Ohio State on March 3, 2001.
In addition to Guerra, junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) pounded home a season-high 16 kills on 22 swings to hit .636 while junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) posted a season-high 15 kills. Penn State outhit George Mason .417 to .357 in its first five-game match of the season.
Freshman setter Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) dished out a season-high 76 assists, also breaking the previous rally-scoring-era single-match record of 73 held by former Nittany Lion standout Jose Quinones against Ohio State on March 3, 2001.
Junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) led all players with 10 digs while Guerra added six. Penn State outdug the Patriots 35 to 28 for the match.
The Nittany Lions were outblocked 12.0 to 11.0 but Kowal posted a season-high eight blocks for Penn State. O'Dell added four stuffs while five other Lions recorded at least one put-back.
George Mason was led by Shaun Powell with 18 kills while Dustin Crosby added 17 and three other Patriots posted double-digit kill figures. Dave Egan dished out 63 assists while Crosby led the defense with six digs. James Claney recorded seven blocks to go along with his 11 kills.
Penn State took the 2-0 lead in the fifth and deciding game before the Patriots came back to tie the score at 3-3. The teams traded points before back-to-back kills from Guerra and Keil gave Penn State the 6-4 advantage. A kill from Kowal gave the Lions the 8-6 advantage and Kowal and O¨ªDell followed the side change with a block. Keil pounded a quick set in the middle to end the game 15-12 in Penn State¨ªs favor. Keil was a perfect 5-for-5 in the fifth game while Guerra added three kills. Penn State outhit George Mason .625 to .467 for the game.
George Mason grabbed the 12-7 lead in the first game before Penn State bounced back to tie the game at 14-14 on a service ace from Keil. Three ties ensued before a Patriot attack error and a kill from freshman Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) gave Penn State the 19-17 lead. George Mason pulled to within one at 24-23 but a Kowal kill allowed Penn State the two point advantage. A Patriot attack error ended the first game 30-28. Both Guerra and Proper posted five kills in the game while Mattei recorded three digs. Penn State outhit George Mason .581 to .429.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to the early 4-1 lead in the second game but George Mason fought back to take the 6-5 lead on three consecutive Penn State attacking errors. The Patriots then went on a 13-6 run to bring their lead to 19-11. The Nittany Lions fought back to within on at 25-24 but it wasn¨ªt enough as George Mason took the second game 30-28. Kowal posted six kills on eight swings and recorded four blocks in the game.
Penn State carried the momentum gained at the end of the second game over into the third, grabbing an 18-9 lead on a kill from junior Richard Schneider (Virginia Beach, Va.). The Nittany Lions cruised the rest of the game, taking the third set 30-19 on a Keil kill. Guerra pounded 10 kills on 11 swings in the game to hit .909. Penn State outhit George Mason .455 to .258.
The fourth game began with both teams trading points before George Mason took the 6-3 lead and the momentum of the game. Penn State clawed back to within three at 13-10 but a service error gave the Patriots the four point advantage. George Mason went on a 6-3 run to make the score 20-13 and held on for the rest of the game, winning 30-25. Guerra posted nine kills on 15 swings while Keil added three kills. George Mason outhit Penn State .441 to .290 for the set.
Penn State now takes to the road for the next two weekends for matches at BYU and Long Beach State. The Lions return home on March 28 when they face Ohio State at 7:30 p.m.
For complete match and season statistics and updates, please visit the men's volleyball homepage on Penn State's official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com.