No. 3 Men's Volleyball Clinches EIVA Title With 3-1 Win Over George Mason
University Park, Pa., April 1, 2005 - The third-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team clinched its 17th Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Tait division title Friday night with a four-game win over George Mason, 30-16, 27-30, 30-19, 30-25. The crown is the 10th under head coach Mark Pavlik and the win improves the Nittany Lions to 24-3 and 10-0 in the EIVA while dropping the Patriots to 16-8 and 7-3 in the conference.
We know we¡¯re going to block balls and if we keep passing this way, we¡¯re in good shape, said Pavlik. Our middles did a great job of controlling their middles and Aaron [Smith] passed outstanding tonight, as did Gary [Vogel] and [Kevin] Wentzel.
Junior middle hitter Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) fell one kill shy of his career high, recording 18 on .762 hitting (18-2-21). Junior opposite Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) also produced 18 kills, senior middle hitter Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) notched 13 kills and junior Kevin Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) tallied six. As a team, Penn State recorded 59 kills and hit .352 for the match as George Mason posted 58 kills and hit .194.
Junior setter Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) dished out 44 assists and freshman libero Gary Vogel (Lancaster, Pa.) led the team with nine digs while also recording his first official career kill.
Penn State tied its season-high with 20 blocks and is now averaging 3.89 blocks per game as a team. Proper led all players with a career-high 11 blocks as Meerstein fell just shy of his season high with eight blocks. Kowal chipped in seven stuffs as Wentzel and sophomore Aaron Smith (Richmond, Va.) each tallied four blocks, O¡¯Dell posted two and freshman Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) recorded one block to go along with his six assists.
Smith also produced all four of Penn State¡¯s service aces.
George Mason was led by Hudson Bates with 21 kills as Shaun Powell posted 15 and Matt Steinfurth recorded 10. Dave Egan directed the offense with 46 assists and Graham Sheppard tallied a team-high six digs. Steinfurth, Egan and R.J. Goubeaux all recorded five blocks in the match.
Penn State takes to the road to face No. 12 Ohio State on Sunday, April 3 at 2:00 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio. The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall for their final regular-season home match on Saturday, April 9 when they host Princeton at 7:00 p.m. Admission to the match is free.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.