Penn State Men¡¯s Volleyball Clinches EIVA Title With Win Over Concordia
University Park, Pa., April 5, 2003 - For the 15th time in its history, the ninth-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team clinched the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season crown this afternoon with a three-game (30-14, 30-18, 30-27) win over Concordia. The Nittany Lions improve to 21-5 overall and 13-0 in the EIVA conference while the Clippers fall to 9-15, 5-8 in league action.
¡°There is no way I thought we would lose this match,¡± said head coach Mark Pavlik. ¡°We¡¯re playing as well as anyone right now, although some people won¡¯t believe me when I say that. I¡¯m very pleased with how the team is playing.¡±
Junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) led all players with 15 kills on an errorless 18 attempts to hit .833 for the match. Freshman Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) posted seven kills in two games while junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) recorded six kills. Eleven Penn State players recorded at least one kill in the match, as the Nittany Lions outhit the Clippers .558 to .138.
Freshman Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the offense in the first game with 17 assists before junior Nate Matthews (Rochester, N.Y.) took over and dished out 30 assists in the next two games.
The Nittany Lions dominated the blocking game, posting 11.5 team blocks to Concordia¡¯s 4.0, led by Kowal and senior Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) with five each. For the season, Penn State is averaging 2.97 blocks per game.
Penn State outdug the Clippers 27 to 20, led by junior Rhonee Rojas (Mililani, Hawaii) with eight. Guerra and junior Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) both added three digs.
The teams traded points to open the first game before Penn State took the 5-4 lead on a kill from senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.). The Nittany Lions then went on a 16-5 run, highlighted by three consecutive blocks, to take the 21-9 lead and force a Concordia timeout. A Keil and Guerra block ended the game at 30-14. Both Slenker and Keil tallied five kills in the game while senior Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) chipped in four and Kowal and Guerra added three. Guerra also posted five blocks as the Nittany Lions recorded eight team blocks in the game and outhit Concordia .613 to -.069.
Penn State grabbed the 3-0 lead in the second game behind a kill from Keil and two kills from junior Richard Schneider (Virginia Beach, Va.). Concordia pulled to within one at 5-6 on a Penn State service error but a Schneider kill widened the gap to two. A kill from junior Josh Mowrey (DuBois, Pa.) made the score 14-7 before a Concordia service error ended the game at 30-18. Keil posted six kills on eight attempts in the game while Schneider added five kills and Proper chipped in four. Rojas tallied eight digs while the Nittany Lions outhit the Clippers .739 to .111.
The Nittany Lions gained the 7-3 lead on a kill from redshirt freshman Kevin Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) before the Clippers fought back to pull within one at 10-9. A kill from junior Alex Weaver (Monroeville, Pa.) made the score 19-15 before a Keil kill ended the game at 30-27. Keil and Wentzel both posted four kills in the game while Proper added three kills and two service aces. Weaver and redshirt freshman Brian O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) both posted two digs to lead the Lions. Penn State outhit Concordia .375 to .355.
The Nittany Lions close out the regular home season next Friday, April 11 against IPFW at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to George Mason on Saturday, April 12 for the last EIVA regular season matchup.
For complete match and season statistics and updates, please visit the men¡¯s volleyball homepage on Penn State¡¯s official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com.