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March 6, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (13-3, 6-1) will hit the road for the second consecutive week, traveling to Ohio State (7-7, 4-3) for a Big Ten tilt against the No. 14 Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions will square off against OSU Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.
The Big Ten has announced that it will re-air Penn State's matchup at Ohio State Saturday, March 8 a 1 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. Fans can catch a replay of all the action with Mike Wolf and Ray Gooden on the call.
WEEK EIGHT IN REVIEW
The Nittany Lions went 1-1 in the first two games of a seven-match road swing last weekend. Princeton handed Penn State its first EIVA loss of the season in a tough 3-2 decision to open the weekend. Rebounding, PSU recovered with a 3-1 win against George Mason to remain atop the conference standings, now tied with Harvard at 6-1 in the league.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE AVCA COACHES POLL - WEEK NINE UPDATE
After splitting two matches on the road last weekend, Penn State moved to No. 12 in the latest AVCA DI-II Poll. Last week, the Nittany Lions moved up to No. 10 in the standings after having spent the last six consecutive weeks at No. 12. Additionally, Penn State is the only EIVA squad ranked within the top 15.
PENN STATE VS. OHIO STATE
The Nittany Lions have already put together a solid 2-0 mark against the Buckeyes in 2014. The pair of victories improved Penn State's advantage in the all-time series to 70-27. Despite a 1-2 mark in the three-match series in 2013, the Nittany Lions have captured a win in 18-of-26 outings in the last 10 years.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State recently dropped to 7-7 overall and 4-3 in the conference after slipping in a 3-1 loss to then-No.14 Ball State. Juniors Andrew Lutz and Michael Henchy are at the helm of the Buckeyes offense. In the last PSU vs. OSU matchup, Lutz pounded 20 kills, adding six digs and three blocks. Lutz's 3.49 kills per set ranks sixth in the MIVA and 23rd nationally. Defensively, Driss Guessous is leading the blocking unit with 44 total blocks, averaging 0.94 per set, which is slated seventh in the MIVA.
SEIFERT EARNS EIVA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
After anchoring the Penn State defense during a 1-1 weekend on the road, redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert has earned his first conference weekly award of the season, being selected as the EIVA Defensive Player of the Week. Seifert closed out the weekend with 11 total blocks, averaging a team-high 1.22 per frame.
He opened the weekend with a squad-best five blocks in a close 3-2 loss at Princeton. Seifert returned the next night to guide the Nittany Lions to a 3-1 win at George Mason, matching a season high mark with six total blocks, while also tallying a career-high six service aces.
AMONG THE BEST SERVERS IN THE NATION
Junior Aaron Russell continues to impress from the service line, as his 0.56 aces per set currently ranks second nationally. His team-high mark also leads the conference. In 2013, Russell tallied 40 aces on the year, which ranks 10th all-time on the single-season record list. With 31 aces on the year, he's just nine shy of matching his 2013 single-season mark. On the career all-time list, his 96 aces currently ranks eighth. He needs just three more aces to tie Jose Quinones (1999-02) for seventh all-time.
A CLEAN SWEEP
Penn State has earned nine of its victories in straight-sets this season, putting together a perfect 9-0 mark in three-set matches. Penn state swept six consecutive opponents from February 7 to February 22 to add to the mark.
RUSSELL CONTRIBUTING FROM THE MIDDLE
Among all players in the EIVA, junior Aaron Russell is the only student-athlete to be ranked within the top 10 in kills, digs and aces. Russell is currently leading the league with 206 kills on the year, averaging 3.75 per set. His 2.02 digs per set ranks eighth, while his 0.56 aces per frame ranks first.
Following this weekend's Big Ten battle, Penn State will head to the west coast for spring break. Traveling to Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State, the Nittany Lions will square off against two non-conference teams Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15.