No. 6 Men¡¯s Volleyball Falls To Ohio State, 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 4, 2007 ¨C The sixth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball squad dropped a hard-fought match to No. 8 Ohio State in five games (30-20, 27-30, 30-19, 20-30, 13-15) Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio. The Nittany Lions fall to 17-6 while the Buckeyes improve to 19-2.
Senior Alex Gutor (Kiev, Ukraine) led all players with 21 kills in the contest as freshman middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) fell just shy of his career mark with 14 kills, coming on .478 hitting. Sophomore opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) collected 11 kills as sophomore middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) chipped in nine. As a team, Penn State hit .280 for the match as Ohio State attacked at a .276 clip.
Junior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the Penn State offense with 49 assists as senior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) paced the defense with 11 digs and senior Aaron Smith (Forest, Va.) chipped in five.
Lipsitz set a new career mark with four service aces as Smith, Gutor and Holt each added one for the Lions.
Ohio State claimed the blocking battle, recording 14 team blocks to Penn State¡¯s nine. Holt and Smith each posted five stuffs for the Nittany Lions as Murray added four, Lipsitz tallied three and Anderson added two.
Sam Stevens led the Buckeyes with 15 kills as Robbie Klein notched 14 and John Albertson tallied 13. Daniel Mathews dished out 47 assists and led the team with seven digs as Albertson racked up nine blocks and Brett Versen chipped in six.
Ohio State started the fifth game out on fire, going up 4-1 on two aces and two kills. Following a Penn State timeout, it was the Nittany Lions that caught fire, tying the game at 4-4 on a Lipsitz kill and block and an Ohio State attack error. A Buckeye kill from Versen, a Penn State ball-handling error and an Ohio State ace gave it the 7-4 lead. A Buckeye kill from Klein and an Ohio State service error quickly followed a Gutor kill, and Lipsitz ace brought Penn State within one at 8-7. Two Ohio State kills put it ahead 10-7 before a Lion triple block from Anderson, Holt and Smith pulled Penn State to within two at 10-8. Following a Buckeye kill from Klein, back to back Lion kills from Anderson and Gutor and a solo Murray block knotted the score at 11-11. A Buckeye attack error gave Penn State its first lead of the game at 12-11 but Ohio State responded with a kill and ace to go ahead 13-12. The teams traded errors that went long before an Ohio State kill from Albertson ended the game, 15-13.
Two Lipsitz aces, including one that dribbled over the tape, gave Penn State the 6-5 lead to start the match. A Gutor kill, Ohio State attack error and Smith ace put the Lions up 11-7 and forced a Buckeye timeout. Three straight Ohio State points out of the break pulled the Buckeyes to within one at 11-10 and the teams traded points before two Lipsitz kills and a Lion block put Penn State up 15-11. Another Lipsitz kill pushed the Lion lead to 17-13 and a triple block from Murray, Holt and Smith made it 20-15. The teams exchanged points and following an Ohio State kill from Stevens, Penn State responded with a kill and ace from Holt to take the 23-17 lead. The Buckeyes claimed three of the next four points but two Gutor kills, a Lipsitz put-away and three straight Ohio State attack errors ended the game, 30-20. Lipsitz connected on six of his seven errorless swings to hit .857 in the game as the Lions attacked at a .545 clip as a team.
Penn State grabbed the 7-3 lead to begin the second game but Ohio State fought back to knot the score at 14-14. A Buckeye block quickly followed a Holt kill, and three ties ensued before an Ohio State kill from Albertson and a Lion attack error gave the Buckeyes the 21-19 lead. A Smith kill brought Penn State to within one at 23-22 but Ohio State claimed four of the next six points, including two on blocks, to pull ahead 27-24. The squads exchanged points and a Buckeye block gave them game point at 29-25. A Gutor kill and Ohio State attack error pulled Penn State to within two at 29-27 before a Nittany Lion service error ended the game, 30-27. Gutor posted seven kills in the stanza for Penn State.
Another Lipsitz ace put Penn State up 6-5 in the third game and the teams exchanged errors before consecutive kills from Stevens sparked a 5-0 Ohio State run to put it up 11-8 and force a Penn State timeout. The Lions came out of the break on fire, claiming the next four points on two Holt kills, a Buckeye attack error and a Gutor solo stuff to take the 12-11 lead and force and Ohio State timeout. The run continued, with kills from Gutor and Holt and a Buckeye attack error pushing the Lion lead to 15-11 before a Lion error halted the run. An Anderson kill and block by Murray and Lipsitz extended Penn State¡¯s advantage to 17-12 and two more Lipsitz kills and an Anderson put-away made it 21-15. Following a Nittany Lion service errors, Penn State took control, scoring the next six points, including two on Ohio State illegal backrow blocks, to go ahead 27-17, capped by a triple block from Murray, Holt and Smith. The teams traded points and a Holt overpass kill made it 29-17 before an Anderson kill ended the game, 30-18. Holt and Anderson each posted five kills in the game.
Ohio State started out the fourth game on fire, going ahead 6-2 aided by two kills, two blocks and an ace. Two Gutor kills pulled Penn State to within three at 10-7 but a Lion error and consecutive Buckeye blocks pushed Ohio State up 13-7. Another Gutor kill coupled with a Buckeye attack error brought Penn State to within two at 13-9 but Ohio State took three of the next four points to go up 16-10. It was the Lions¡¯ turn to go on a mini-run, claiming three of the next four points to pull within 17-13 but three Penn State errors aided Ohio State in going ahead 21-15. Out of a Lion timeout, the Buckeyes took three of the next four points to extend their lead to 24-16. The squads exchanged service errors twice and an Ohio State kill from Klein pushed the score to 27-18 before a Buckeye kill ended the game, 30-20.
Penn State returns home on Friday, April 6 to host East Stroudsburg at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall. That match will also be Senior Night, honoring Alex Gutor, Aaron Smith and Ryan Walthall for their contributions to Penn State and the men¡¯s volleyball program.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.