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April 3, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. T-12 Penn State men's volleyball team (17-6, 8-1) hits the road this weekend for a crucial road test against two EIVA conference opponents. The Nittany Lions visit No. 15 Harvard (12-6, 8-2) Friday, April 4 for a 7 p.m. matchup before heading to Sacred Heart (9-16, 3-8) Saturday, April 5 for another 7 p.m. tilt.
Sitting second at 8-2 in the league standings, the Crimson is just one match behind PSU, making this weekend's matchup a prime opportunity for Penn State to take another step toward clinching the conference title after straight-set victory against Princeton last weekend at home.
WEEK 12 IN REVIEW
The Nittany Lions closed out their 2014 regular season slate with a pair of straight set victories last weekend to remain atop the conference standings. Penn State powered past Princeton (25-19, 25-13, 25-20) before sprinting by George Mason (25-18, 25-17, 25-18) to wrap up a 2-0 weekend.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE AVCA COACHES POLL - WEEK 13 UPDATE
Following the pair of conference victories PSU has moved up one spot to No. 12 in the latest AVCA DI-II Top 15 Poll, tied with Ball State. Penn State was 13th last week after having spent the last two weeks at No. 14. Three 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 swept past the Crimson in straight sets last month to move to 7-1 all-time against Harvard. Redshirt junior Nick Goodell recorded his first double-double of the season in the last outing in February with 11 kills and 10 digs. The win was also PSU's second straight since surrendering their first loss to the Crimson in program history in the final regular-season outing in 2013.
PENN STATE VS. SACRED HEART - LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions improved to 7-0 all-time against the Pioneers after stretching their winning streak with a 3-0 win at home last month. Since 2004, Penn State has not surrendered a single set to SHU. In the last meeting between the two teams, junior Aaron Russell powered the offense with a match-high 16 kills on 23 perfect swings. Senior Peter Russell also had double-digit kills with 12.
NITTANY LIONS SWEEP EIVA WEEKLY AWARDS
After helping the team wrap up the regular season home slate, redshirt junior Nick Goodell and junior Aaron Russell each received weekly conference recognition. Russell was selected as the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week, while Goodell was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Week.
Russell earned his fourth EIVA Offensive Player of the Week selection after recording two consecutive double digit kill performances during the week. He opened the weekend with 13 kills on .478 hitting in the win against Princeton before closing out the week with a match-high 16 kills, seven digs and three blocks against George Mason. Goodell notched his first EIVA Defensive Player of the Week selection in 2014 after registering six blocks and 10 digs during a 2-0 week at home. Against Princeton, he tallied 13 kills, three blocks and three digs, while also logging eight kills, seven digs and three blocks against George Mason.
HERNANDEZ HIGHLIGHTS 2014 EIVA HALL OF FAME CLASS
The Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) has announced its third Hall of Fame Class, which is highlighted by former Nittany Lion Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez and two others will be honored at the 2014 EIVA Championship match April 26th at the site of the highest seeded team.
Hernandez earned AVCA All-America honors in three consecutive seasons at Penn State, while also garnering four straight First Team All-East/All-EIVA honors from 1991-94. While at Penn State, Hernandez also worked his way to the top of the record book, as he currently ranks among the top five in all three blocking categories in PSU history. His 107 solo blocks ranks first all-time, while his 390 block assists ranks fifth and his 497 total blocks ranks third.
PENN STATE EARNS SECOND CONSECUTIVE "EIVA RALLIES! AWARD"
The Nittany Lions have been selected as the recipient of the March "EIVA Rallies! Award," as announced by conference commissioner Ivan Marquez .The award marks the second consecutive month that the Nittany Lions have claimed the honor, which is presented monthly to the EIVA team with the highest attendance from February to April.
This month, Penn State averaged 666 fans at its home matches, which is up by nearly 100 fans from February's average of 594. George Mason followed the Nittany Lions' top attendance mark with 340 fans during the month of March, followed by Saint Francis' total of 264.
A CLEAN SWEEP
Penn State has earned 12 of its victories in straight-sets this season, putting together a 12-1 record in three-set matches. Penn State swept six consecutive opponents from February 7 to February 22 to add to the mark. In 2013, the Nittany Lions recorded 15 3-0 wins.
AMONG THE BEST SERVERS IN THE NATION
Junior Aaron Russell continues to impress from the service line, as his 0.56 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 44 aces on the year, he's set a new single-season personal best. On the career all-time list, his 109 aces surpassed Matt Proper (2003-06) for sole possession of fourth all-time.
Redshirt junior Nick Goodell also broke into the top 15 nationally in the category this week. His 0.37 aces per set ranks 15th nationally and second in the EIVA behind Russell.
Penn State will remain on the road for the remainder of the 2014 regular season. The Nittany Lions travel to Saint Francis Saturday, April 12 for a 2 p.m. matchup. PSU will wrap up its road trip the following weekend with a pair of matches at Rutgers-Newark and NJIT.