No. 10 Men¡¯s Volleyball Drops Contest To IPFW, 3-2
Fort Wayne, Ind., April 14, 2006 ¨C The 10th-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team dropped a five-game heartbreaker to No. 12 IPFW (25-30, 30-27, 30-24, 28-30, 10-15) Friday night in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Nittany Lions fall to 17-8 overall while the Mastodons improve to 19-6.
Four Penn State players ended the match in double-digit kills, led by senior Kevin Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) with 19 kills and senior opposite Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) with 18 kills. Senior middle hitter Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) connected on 12 of his 19 swings to hit .526 while freshman middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) tallied 10 kills on an errorless 15 attempts to hit .667. As a team, Penn State hit .313 while holding IPFW to attacking at a .287 clip.
Senior setter Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) dished out 48 assists as sophomore setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) contributed 17 assists. O¡¯Dell also led the squad with three service aces and 10 digs as junior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) posted nine digs.
IPFW won the blocking battle, 16.0 to 10.0. Proper led the Nittany Lions with six blocks as Holt tallied five and Meerstein notched three.
C.J. Macias recorded 24 kills to lead all players as Serdar Sikca tallied 14 kills on .619 hitting. Colin Lundeen dished out 55 assists as Mike Morici notched a team-high 10 digs. Sikca topped all players with eight blocks as Lundeen posted seven and Josh Stewart notched recorded six.
The Mastodons grabbed a 7-3 lead to start the fifth game on a block from Sikca and Lundeen. But a Meerstein kill and an IPFW attack error pulled the Lions to within two at 7-5 and the teams traded service errors but two more IPFW kills from Stewart pushed the Mastodon lead to four at 10-6. Following a Nittany Lion timeout, two IPFW kills sandwiched a Gutor kill but a Proper kill trimmed the deficit to three at 12-9. The teams exchanged points before a Penn State service error and a Sikca kill ended the game in favor of the Mastodons, 15-10.
Game one remained even early on with IPFW going up 17-13 on a Macias kill. Aided by kills from Wentzel, Meerstein and Proper, Penn State pulled within two at 21-19 but the Mastodons were able to maintain the slim margin, taking the 26-22 on a solo Sikca block before taking the game, 30-25.
Penn State went up 21-17 on back to back kills from Meerstein and Holt and a kill and ace from Holt pushed the lead to 25-21. A Wentzel kill made it 27-24 before a Meerstein kill and a block from Holt and freshman outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) gave Penn State the game, 30-27.
A Proper kill put the Lions ahead 15-12 in the third game but the Mastodons fought back to tie the game at 17-17. Two ties ensued before a block from Holt and Anderson and a kill from Meerstein gave Penn State the 21-19 lead. Back to back Proper kills, an IPFW attack error and a Holt putaway extended the Lion lead to 25-20 and a Wentzel kill made it 28-22 before a Meerstein kill ended the game, 30-24.
The Nittany Lions remain on the road, taking on No. 14 Ball State in Muncie, Ind., on Saturday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.