UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The No. 10 Penn State men's volleyball team is back on the road this weekend with visits to IPFW and Ball State on March 9-10. The Nittany Lions face the Mastodons on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Cardinals on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Links to live stats and live video can be found at GoPSUsports.com.
Nittany Lion Preview
The Nittany Lions went 2-0 over the weekend with 3-0 sweeps of Rutgers-Newark and NJIT to improve to 8-1 in the EIVA. Redshirt sophomore Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) combined for 3.50 kills per set, while sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) averaged 3.60 kills per set in five sets. Redshirt freshman setter Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 13.20 assists per set and Russell had a team-best 0.80 aces per set. Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) averaged 3.75 digs per set, while redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) recorded 2.33 per set. Redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) was Penn State's top blockers with 0.83 blocks per set.
For the weekend, Penn State hit .446 and averaged 15.00 kills, 13.33 assists, 1.67 aces, 9.33 digs and 2.08 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. IPFW
Penn State has a 41-13 record against the Mastodons. The teams last met in 2011 when IPFW visited Rec Hall. Penn State won the match, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-22). IPFW's last win against the Nittany Lions was Jan. 13, 2007. The Mastodons won, 3-0 (30-28, 30-28, 30-25).
Scouting the Mastodons
IPFW is 6-7 overall this season and 3-5 in the MIVA. The Mastodons have lost their last three matches, with their most recent win coming at Loyola-Chicago on Feb. 20. IPFW will host Sacred Heart on March 8 before welcoming the Nittany Lions to the Gates Sports Center. The Mastodons are 1-2 this season against foes in the EIVA. Junior outside Eddie Rivera leads the Mastodons offensively with 3.10 kills per set, while sophomore setter Omar Rivera paces the offense averaging 10.02 assists per set. Freshman libero Luis Bertran has a team-high 2.26 digs per set and sophomore middle Ramon Burgos is a force at the next with 1.09 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. Ball State
Penn State owns a 60-20 record against Ball State. The squads last met in 2011 on three different occasions. PSU won the first, 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-20) at the Outrigger Invitational on Jan. 15. The Lions again swept the Cardinal on March 18, 3-0 (25-18, 36-34, 25-17), at home, but lost at BSU on April 15, 3-0 (23-25, 21-25, 22-25).
Scouting the Cardinals
Ball State owns an 8-5 record this season and, like IPFW, the Cardinals are 3-5 in the MIVA. Despite opening the season with eight consecutive wins, BSU had lost its last five matches. The Cardinals host Sacred Heart on March 9 before challenging Penn State. Senior outside Greg Herceg leads the Cardinals with a team-best 4.21 kills per set, while junior Graham McIlvaine and senior Dan Wichman share setting duties with 9.29 and 7.25 assists per set, respectively. Junior libero Tommy Rouse is Ball State's top player in the back row with 3.02 digs per set. Senior middle Matt Leske has a team-high 1.39 blocks per set and junior middle Kevin Owens isn't far behind with 1.36 per set.
Penn State remains on the road with visits to Ohio State on March 16 and EIVA foe Saint Francis on March 23. The Lions close out their month of travel with visits to Princeton and George Mason on March 29-30.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.