Penn State Men's Volleyball Pummels Ohio State, 3-0
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., March 28, 2003 - The ninth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team pummeled Ohio State in three games (30-23, 30-15, 30-26) Friday night in Rec Hall, its first match at home since March 4. The Nittany Lions improve to 18-5 on the season while the Buckeyes fall to 14-8.
"Tonight the difference was our physical play," said head coach Mark Pavlik, who before the match was honored for his 200th career win. "The players are playing with more confidence. It also helps to be home in front of our fans and it helps us when they get excited."
As a team, Penn State hit an astounding .635, connecting on 53 of 74 attempts with only six hitting errors in the match. Senior Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) led all players with 13 kills, hitting .550 while senior Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) posted 11 kills on 13 attempts with one error to hit .769. Senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.) hit .471 with 10 kills while juniors Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) and Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) hit .700 and .818 and chipped in eight and nine kills respectively. In comparison, Ohio State only attacked at a .206 clip, including a negative hitting percentage in the second game.
Ohio State was led by Andy Cole with 11 kills while Mark Greaves and Mike Wauligman each added eight kills. The Buckeyes were without senior outside hitter Tom Trantow, who was sidelined with an injury.
Freshman Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the offense with 45 assists while across the net, Buckeye Mark Peckham dished out 34 assists.
O'Dell and Guerra led the defensive front, both recording a match-high six digs while Koljesar added five and junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) provided precision passing and four digs. Penn State outdug Ohio State, 24-10.
The Nittany Lions also held the advantage in blocking, 9.0 to 2.0, led by Kowal with six blocks and Guerra and Koljesar with four apiece. Guerra also posted all of Penn State's service aces, with three.
The first set remained close early with Penn State gaining the 6-4 advantage on a Guerra kill. A Guerra service ace followed by an Ohio State attacking error forced a Buckeye timeout at 14-8. A kill from Koljesar gave Penn State a 21-13 lead before a Buckeye attacking error ended the game at 30-23.Keil, Slenker and Guerra all recorded four kills as Penn State attacked at a .583 clip.
Penn State opened the second game on a 17-6 run aided by three consecutive Nittany Lion blocks by a combination of Kowal, Guerra and Koljesar. Another block by Slenker and Kowal put Penn State up 26-14 before an Ohio State attack error ended the game at 30-15. The Nittany Lions recorded seven blocks while not allowing the Buckeyes any, and outhit them .778 to -.037. Koljesar was a perfect five-for-five while Slenker and Guerra chipped in three kills apiece. Kowal had six blocks in the game.
The third game remained close early with the scored tied at 9-9 before a Kowal kill gave the Lions the one point advantage and the lead for good. Ohio State hung around, pulling to within three at 22-19 but a Guerra kill gave the Lions the four point cushion. A Keil and Koljesar blocked ended the game, 30-26. Guerra recorded six kills in the set while Koljesar added five digs. As a team, Penn State hit .545 to Ohio State's .350.
The Nittany Lions remain at home for a contest with EIVA-foe Rutgers-Newark on Saturday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Please visit www.GoPSUsports for updated news and statistics on the Penn State men's volleyball team.