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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The final two matches of the regular season will be played inside the Recreation Building when the Penn State men's volleyball team hosts Princeton (April 13) and NJIT (April 14) with EIVA Championship seeding on the line. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m., with Saturday's match serving as senior day for the trio of Aidan Albrecht, Kevin Gear and Jalen Penrose.
Fans can follow along with each match on Twitter (@PennStateMVball) or click on the links for live stats and live video on the right sidebar.
// Penn State's 13 service aces at George Mason equaled its season high and are the second most in a five-set match since 2001 in NCAA history. MORE ON PAGE 4, 8 & 9
// Redshirt-junior Royce Clemens is moving his name into some rare company among Penn State defenders, looking to enter the top-five in career digs. MORE ON PAGE 4
// The Nittany Lions have done some shuffling in the starting lineup this season, using nine different combinations in 23 matches this season. MORE ON PAGE 5
// The EIVA Championship field is nearly set, as three of the four spots are locked up, however the fourth seed and hosting rights are up in the air entering the weekend. MORE ON PAGE 5
The complete game notes packet, including more information on the Penn State men's volleyball program, can be found by clicking here.
Quick Notes: Princeton
// Princeton enters the weekend with a 10-14 overall record and sits No. 4 in the EIVA with a 6-6 conference mark. The Tigers will need one victory or a loss by Charleston (W.Va.) this weekend to secure a spot in the EIVA Tournament.
// After a 1-11 start, Princeton reeled off seven-straight wins from Feb. 24-March 22 before dropping three of the last five matches.
// The net play for Princeton has been solid this season, as the Tigers lead the EIVA and rank No. 6 nationally with 2.61 blocks per set. Middle blocker Junior Oboh leads the block party with 1.13 blocks to per, a total that sits No. 1 in the EIVA and No. 10 in the NCAA.
// Middle blocker George Huhmann paces the Princeton attack with 3.51 kills per set and 4.46 points per set. His points per set total leads the EIVA and sits No. 10 nationally, while his kills per set ranks No. 2 in the EIVA. Along with his kill total, Huhmann adds 0.27 service aces and 1.07 blocks per set.
Series history and team comparison on Page 3
Last Meeting: at Princeton 3, Penn State 2 (3/3/18)
No. 10 Penn State suffered its first conference road loss Saturday night at Dillon Gym as the Princeton grabbed the five-set victory (16-25, 25-22, 25-18, 29-31, 13-15).
With Penn State leading 2-1 after three sets, the Nittany Lions opened the fourth set with a Calvin Mende kill and extending the lead five points, 15-10, before the Tigers called a timeout.
The Princeton comeback was gradual, as the Tigers trimmed the lead slowly, eventually knotting the score at 24-24 on a Mende attacking error.
Penn State had seven match points fended off by Princeton, with the Tigers getting four kills and benefiting from three errors by PSU to extend the match. After a kill from Aidan Albrecht made it 29-28 in favor of the Blue and White, Princeton rattled off three-straight kills to knot the match at two games apiece.
Princeton scored the first point of the fifth set and never trailed from that point, eventually closing out a 15-13 set win to take the match.
Three Penn State student-athletes posted double-digit kill matches, led by Matthew McLaren's 22. Albrecht ended the match with 18 kills and Mende added 13.
Luke Braswell led the match with 56 assists and Royce Clemens notched 16 digs. Kevin Gear led the Nittany Lions with seven blocks.
As a team, Penn State held the edge in kills (68-53) and service aces (7-3), but gave away 62 points on 31 attacking errors, 23 service errors and eight blocking errors.
Quick Notes: NJIT
// NJIT carries a 7-16 overall record into the weekend, including a 4-8 mark in EIVA play. The Highlanders have won three of their last five EIVA contests, including a sweep of Charleston (W.Va.) at home and a win over Sacred Heart.
// Reigning EIVA Offensive Player of the Week Piotr Namiotko along with Alvaro Gimeno combined to make the only duo to rank among the top-5 in the EIVA in kills per set. Namiotko sits No. 3 in the EIVA with 3.44 kills per set, while Gimeno is No. 5 at 3.31 kills per set.
// The service line will be a place to watch on Saturday, as NJIT sits No. 2 in the EIVA and No. 16 in the NCAA in service aces. The Highlanders' 1.52 aces per set is second to Penn State's 1.73 service aces per set.
Series history and team comparison on Page 3
Last Meeting: Penn State 3, at NJIT 0 (3/2/18)
No. 10 Penn State swept NJIT on the road at the Wellness and Events Center (25-21, 25-17, 25-15) to improve to 5-1 in conference play and earned the 10th win of the season.
Penn State earned its 10th win of the season behind a stout defense, limiting the Highlanders to a match hitting percentage of .129. The Nittany Lions committed just eight attacking errors on 61 swings to boast a .426 hitting percentage in the match.
Penn State didn't hit less than .333 in any of the three sets, while recording a second set hitting percentage of .571 in which Penn State posted 13 kills on 21 swings with only one attacking error.
Calvin Mende led the way for Penn State with a match-high nine kills, adding four blocks at the net. Aidan Albrecht posted six kills, three service aces and one block.
It was a balanced attack for the Blue and White, as Kevin Gear added eight kills in the match and Matthew McLaren chipped in seven. Jalen Penrose topped off the 34 kills with four successful swings.
Penn State gave NJIT fits from the service line as the Lions notched eight service aces, led by Albrecht's three.