No. 6 Men¡¯s Volleyball Clips Juniata, 3-2
HUNTINGDON, Pa., March 28, 2007 ¨C The sixth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball overcame a feisty Juniata College team in five games (26-30, 30-19, 30-22, 28-30, 15-10) Wednesday night in Huntingdon, Pa. The Nittany Lions improve to 15-5 and 8-0 in the EIVA Tait while the Eagles fall to 12-6 and 4-5 in conference action.
Sophomore opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) recorded his fifth 20-kill match of the year, racking up 22 kills on .381 hitting as sophomore middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) set a new career record with 21 kills coming on .690 hitting (21-1-29). Freshman middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) pounded 12 kills on .429 hitting as senior Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) contributed 10 kills. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .333 clip for the match while holding Juniata to hitting .203.
Junior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the Nittany Lion offense with 59 assists as senior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) provided a match-high 15 digs and senior Aaron Smith (Forest, Va.) tallied nine.
Penn State dominated the blocking game, racking up 17.0 team blocks to Juniata¡¯s 9.5. Lipsitz led all players with a career-high 10 blocks, the highest blocking total from a Nittany Lion player this season. Anderson, Holt and Smith all provided five blocks in the match, a season-high-tying mark for Smith, as Gutor posted four and Murray chipped in two.
Each team tallied five service aces in the contest, with Gutor recording two for Penn State and Holt, Murray and redshirt sophomore Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) all notching one.
Nate Ocasio led Juniata with 16 kills as Jeremy Barndt and Glenn DeHaven posted 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Matt Werle dished out 56 assists and Steve Yeager notched 15 digs. DeHaven and Chris Gass each recorded four blocks to lead the Eagles.
Penn State opened up the 7-4 lead on a Holt kill in the fifth and final game and never looked back, going up 11-7 on a Murray kill and a Juniata attack error. The Eagles pulled within two at 11-9 on an Ocasio put-away, but it was quickly followed by two Juniata errors. An Anderson kill and another Eagle attack error ended the game, 15-10, in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Game one remained even early on, with Juniata taking the 23-18 lead on kills from Matt Fritz and Nate Ocasio. The Eagles maintained the lead, going up 26-21 on a Matt Werle solo block. Penn State fought back to within two at 27-25 on two Anderson kills and a Gutor and Lipsitz block, but two DeHaven kills aided Juniata in taking the game, 30-26.
Penn State took the lead early on in the second game, going up 13-9 on a Lipsitz kill and Gutor ace. The Nittany Lions steadily built their lead, taking the 21-14 advantage on four consecutive Holt kills and one from Murray. A triple block from Smith, Lipsitz and Anderson made it 26-18 and the Lions scored the next two points on kills from Lipsitz and Anderson before Stauffer ended the game with an ace, 30-19.
The Nittany Lions again jumped on top early to begin the third game, grabbing the 17-12 lead aided by a Gutor ace, an Anderson and Lipsitz block and a Juniata attack error. Penn State remained in control, going up 22-16 on a Holt kill and 25-19 on a Lipsitz put-away before three straight Holt kills ended the game, 30-22.
Penn State held the lead in the fourth game, going up 15-10 on a Lipsitz kill and Eagle attack error. The squads traded points twice before a Chris Gass kill sparked a 5-0 Juniata run to knot the game at 17-17. The Nittany Lions went back on top, 24-19, aided by a triple block from Gutor, Lipsitz and Murray and kills from Anderson and Gutor. But an Eagle stuff from McGinley and Barndt started another Juniata run, this one seven points, to give the Eagles the 26-24 lead before a Smith and Lipsitz block halted the run. A Lipsitz kill brought the Nittany Lions to within two at 28-26 but the teams traded points and a Juniata attack error pulled Penn State to within one, 29-28, before a Ocasio kill gave the Eagles the game, 30-28.
The Nittany Lions return home to host Princeton on Friday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the South Gym of Rec Hall before traveling to Loretto, Pa. to take on Saint Francis on Saturday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.