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March 27, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off of a seven-match road swing, the No. 13 Penn State men's volleyball team (15-6, 6-1) returns home to close out the home portion of the 2014 slate with a pair of EIVA conference matches. The Nittany Lions host Princeton (12-7, 6-2) Friday, March 28 before taking on George Mason (10-10, 4-4) Saturday, March 29 on senior night. First serve for both matches is set for 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.
WEEK 11 IN REVIEW
The Nittany Lions went 1-1 last weekend, rebounding from a 3-1 loss at top-ranked Loyola with a four-set victory against No. 10 Lewis. The pair of matches marked the final two stops on a seven-match road swing, closing out the Nittany Lions' non-conference schedule. With the win against the Flyers, Penn State wraps up the non-conference portion of the slate with a 9-5 mark.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE AVCA COACHES POLL - WEEK 12 UPDATE
Following a 1-1 weekend in Chicago, Ill., PSU has moved up one spot to No. 13 in the latest AVCA DI-II Top 15 Poll. Penn State spent the last two weeks at No. 14. Two weeks ago, PSU moved back to No. 12 after spending one week at No. 10. Prior to the No. 10 positioning, the Nittany Lions were slated No. 12 for six consecutive weeks.
The Nittany Lions dropped to 49-3 all-time against the Tigers after losing their only conference match of the season on the road earlier this month at Princeton. The close 3-2 loss snapped a 36-match winning streak that dated back to 1998. Despite the outcome, redshirt junior Nick Goodell recorded a career-high 25 kills on .477 hitting, adding four digs and three blocks to lead the team.
PENN STATE VS. GEORGE MASON - LAST TIME OUT
PSU moved to 93-14 in the all-time series against the Patriots after rallying past George Mason in four sets earlier this month on the road in Fairfax, Va. With the win, the Nittany Lions extended their winning streak to 14 consecutive matches against GMU. A trio featuring redshirt junior Nick Goodell, junior Aaron Russell and redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert all the led offense with double-digit kills.
RUSSELL EARNS EIVA WEEKLY HONOR
After guiding the team to a 1-1 weekend on the road against two nationally ranked foes, junior Aaron Russell has earned EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors. The award marks the third time Russell has received weekly conference recognition in 2014.
Russell opened the weekend with a team-high 18 kills on .452 hitting in a 3-1 loss at top-ranked Loyola Chicago. The next night, he returned to the court to lead the team to a 3-1 victory at No. 10 Lewis, posting a match-high 22 kills to go along with five digs and four aces.
SENIOR SENDOFF - Peter Russell
Prior to Saturday's match against George Mason, we'll pause to honor the accomplishments and commitment of Peter Russell, the lone senior in the 2014 Penn State men's volleyball graduating class. In his four years in the blue and white, Russell helped the Nittany Lions to three consecutive EIVA championships and three appearances at the NCAA men's volleyball national finals.
The 2013 Second Team All-EIVA selection earned a spot on the EIVA Championship All-Tournament team, after recording 14 kills on 16 errorless swings in the title match against Harvard. Russell has also earned EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors twice during his career as a Nittany Lion.
AMONG THE BEST SERVERS IN THE NATION
Junior Aaron Russell continues to impress from the service line, as his 0.55 aces per frame currently ranks third 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 40 aces on the year, he's currently matched his 2013 single-season mark. On the career all-time list, his 103 aces surpassed Jose Quinones (1999-02) for sole possession of seventh all-time.
After wrapping up the home portion of the 2014 slate, the Nittany Lions will close out the regular season on the road for the next five consecutive matches. Penn State heads to Harvard and Sacred Heart next weekend to take on the Crimson Friday, April 4 before facing Sacred Heart Saturday, April 5. First serve for both matches is set for 7 p.m.