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UNIVERESITY PARK, Pa. – After finishing tied for second in the EIVA regular season standings and earning the No. 2 seed in the upcoming EIVA Tournament, the Penn State men’s volleyball program saw the trio of redshirt-senior Kevin Gear (Rochester, N.Y.), redshirt-junior Matthew McLaren (Aurora, Colo.) and redshirt-sophomore Calvin Mende (Redlands, Calif.) earn All-EIVA honors as announced by the conference office on Tuesday (April 16).
The trio of honorees push Penn State’s total to 194 All-EIVA selections in program history, with first-time selections Gear and McLaren giving Penn State 81 all-time honorees. Gear and McLaren each earn their first nods to the all-conference squads, while Mende garners back-to-back selections to the All-EIVA First Team.
“Congratulations to Calvin, Kevin and Matthew on being selected to the All-EIVA team,” said head coach Mark Pavlik. “This is a great honor and, as with any postseason honors, those three would be the first to tell you that they couldn’t have done it without the teammates that surround them. Our student-athletes have worked hard all season and we are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead of us this postseason.”
The complete All-EIVA first and second team, along with specialty award winners, can be found by clicking here.
The leading net protector on the squad, Gear had a solid season blocking and attacking. In 24 appearances (94 sets), Gear posted 85 total blocks to lead the team and his 0.92 blocks per set ranked No. 9 in the EIVA. His .462 attacking percentage was tops on the team, though it narrowly missed qualifying for the EIVA rankings, as he converted 156 of his 279 attacks with just 27 errors. He raised his level of play against EIVA competition, improving his kills per set (1.70 to 1.88), blocks per set (0.92-0.94) and attacking percentage (.462-.522). Gear posted at least one block in the final 19 matches of the season and owned 16 matches with three-or-more blocks.
The team leader in total kills and points, McLaren totaled 244 kills (2.60 kps) and 294.0 points on the year. He ranked among the top-25 in the EIVA in per set averages for aces (8th; 0.35), hitting percentage (7th; .282), kills (11th; 2.60) and points (12th; 3.10). The redshirt-junior posted 13 double-digit kill matches – seven in EIVA play – and owned nine EIVA matches with multiple service aces. Along with leading the team in kills and points, McLaren ranked No. 2 on the squad in service aces (33) and digs (123).
Mende is the 59th Penn Stater to earn multiple selections to the All-EIVA squad and 29th Nittany Lion to earn multiple berths to the All-EIVA first team since the conference began awarding two squads in 1991. The redshirt-sophomore posted a team-best 3.15 kills per set in 65 sets, which ranked No. 6 in the EIVA. His.302 attacking percentage was No. 5 in the EIVA among qualifying attackers, with 71 errors on 444 total attacks. He added 45 total blocks to rank No. 3 on the team and he also tallied 58 digs. Mende registered 11 matches with double-digit kills – seven in EIVA play – and boasted nine matches with three-or-more blocks.
Penn State will enter the EIVA Tournament as the No. 2 seed and face No. 3 seed Harvard in the first semifinal on Thursday, April 19. The Nittany Lions and Crimson are slated for a 5 p.m. first serve inside the Recreation Athletic Complex on the campus of George Mason University. For more information on the tournament, to buy tickets or find lodging click here.