No. 6 Men¡¯s Volleyball Outlasts No. 4 UC Santa Barbara, 3-2
SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 12, 2007 ¨C Sophomore outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) pounded a career-high and new rally-scoring-era record 35 kills as the sixth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team outlasted fourth-ranked UC Santa Barbara in five games (30-24, 30-28, 28-30, 19-30, 19-17) Monday night in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Nittany Lions improve to 12-2 while the Gauchos fall to 14-9.
In addition to Anderson¡¯s 35 kills, which came on .452 hitting, senior outside hitter Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) pounded 19 kills and sophomore middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) contributed 14 kills on .476 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .385 clip as UC Santa Barbara hit .383.
Junior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) dished out a career-high 66 assists as Anderson led the squad with nine digs. Murray and senior Aaron Smith (Forest, Va.) each contributed eight digs as senior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) picked up six digs.
The Nittany Lions outblocked the Gauchos, 15.0 to 8.5, led by Holt, Murray and freshman middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) each notched six blocks while Smith and Gutor each collected four blocks. The marks were season-highs for Murray and Smith and career-bests for Gutor and Lipsitz.
Evan Patak led UC Santa Barbara with 30 kills as Theo Brunner pounded 20 kills and Bryan Berman collected nine. Ben Brockman provided a match-high 15 digs as Brunner added a team-high five blocks.
A Gutor kill and a Lipsitz and Smith block put Penn State up 4-2 in the decisive fifth game. The squads traded points three times, with a Holt kill giving the Lions the 7-5 lead. A Patak kill was quickly followed by an Anderson kill, his 30th of the match, before a Santa Barbara attack error gave Penn State the 9-6 advantage. Anderson and Patak traded kills and a Gutor kill put Penn State up 12-10 but another Patak kill and a Nittany Lion ball-handling error tied the game at 12-12. Penn State went back to Anderson for another put-away but a Lion service error again knotted the score, 13-13. Another Anderson kill made it 14-13 but a service error tied the game, 14-14. Anderson and Patak exchanged kills and a blistering Holt kill gave Penn State the 16-15 lead. A UC Santa Barbara block knotted the game at 16-16 and an apparent Patak kill was ruled a backrow attack, giving Penn State the 17-16 lead. A Gaucho kill knotted the score at 17-17 before an Anderson kill and a UC Santa Barbara missed connection in the middle ended the game, 19-17.
A Lipsitz solo block and a Gutor kill gave Penn State the early 3-1 advantage before UC Santa Barbara fought back to claim the 10-7 lead on an Aaron Richmond kill. An Anderson overpass kill evened the score at 12-12 and the teams traded points several times before a Holt overpass kill and a block by Murray and Holt put Penn State ahead 16-14. A Lion triple block from Smith, Holt and Murray made it 17-15 before two Anderson kills and two Holt aces extended the Penn State lead to 22-16. The teams traded points three times, with an Anderson overpass kill giving the Nittany Lions the 25-19 advantage. Two Anderson kills aided Penn State in going up 29-23 before a Santa Barbara service error ended the game, 30-24. Anderson led the Lions with eight kills on .636 hitting while as a team, Penn State attacked at a .500 clip (13-2-22).
Penn State claimed the 5-2 lead to start the second game on a Holt overpass kill before a Murray and Holt block put the Lions up 10-7. Penn State maintained the slight advantage, going up 17-14 on a Smith ace and 20-16 on a Gutor solo block. An Anderson kill and a block by Holt and Smith made it 25-20 and the teams traded points twice before Santa Barbara claimed the next three points on Penn State errors to pull within two at 27-25. A triple block by Murray, Holt and Gutor out of a Lion timeout forced a Gaucho timeout. UCSB claimed three of the next four points on kills to pull within one, but an Anderson kill ended the game, 30-28. Anderson racked up nine kills in the stanza.
Santa Barbara took the early 3-3 lead on a block and went up 9-7 on a kill and back to back Penn State errors to force a Nittany Lion timeout. Out of the break, Penn State scored four of the next six points to knot the game at 11-11 on an Anderson kill. The score remained even, with another Anderson kill following great Walthall defense making it 17-17. UC Santa Barbara took the 20-18 lead on a kill by Armen Zakarian before a Smith and Holt block knotted the game at 22-22. Four ties ensued before the Gauchos pounded two kills to go up 28-26 and force a Nittany Lion timeout. Two Anderson kills sandwiched a Penn State service error but a UC Santa Barbara block ended the game in favor of the Gauchos, 30-28. Gutor collected seven kills in the set as Anderson added in five.
The Gauchos again jumped out to the early lead, going up 6-3 on an ace and Patak kill. But three Anderson kills in the next four points brought the Lions to within one at 7-6 and the teams traded service errors and kills before two UC Santa Barbara kills put them up 11-9. Two Anderson kills tied the game at 11-11 and two ties ensued before the Gauchos took the 16-14 lead on a Patak kill. The squads traded kills twice before Santa Barbara caught fire, rattling off the next eight points with three kills, two aces and two blocks, to go up 26-17. Following a Gaucho service error, Santa Barbara claimed four of the next five points to take the game, 30-19. Anderson posted six kills in the game as Holt added four.
Penn State remains in California, taking on No. 2 UC Irvine on Wednesday, March 14 before facing NAIA-power Cal Baptist (Mar. 16) and No. 12 Long Beach State (Mar. 17) in Long Beach, Calif.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.