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April 19, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Six members of the Penn State men's volleyball team garnered eight EIVA postseason awards, conference officials announced Friday. Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) was named the Uvaldo Acosta Memorial Co-Player of the Year, redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was honored as the EIVA Newcomer of the Year, and head coach Mark Pavlik was tabbed the Bob Sweeney EIVA Coach of the Year.
Russell, who shares Player of the Year honors with George Mason's Mark Jones, was an All-EIVA First Team honoree. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.), Hammond, junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) and redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) all garnered All-EIVA Second Team laurels.
The five All-EIVA honors bring Penn State's total number of all-time All-EIVA selections to 188 since 1972. Aaron Russell's award as Player of the Year marked the 14th time a Nittany Lion has been named of the Player of the Year and the sixth consecutive. Pavlik was previously honored as the EIVA Coach of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
An Off the Block Preseason All-American, Aaron Russell currently leads Penn State in kills (305), kills per set (3.47), aces (30), and aces per set (0.34). He is also second on the team in digs (136) and digs per set (1.55), and fourth among the Nittany Lions in blocks (38). His 3.47 kills per set rank third in the league and 21st in the nation, while his 0.34 aces per set sits at fourth in the EIVA and 17th in the nation. Aaron Russell has started all 26 matches so far at outside hitting, a switch from middle he made prior to the season. He has led Penn State in kills 14 times and digs four times. Other honors he has accumulated this season include being a member of the Outrigger Invitational All-Tournament Team, a three-time EIVA Offensive Player of Week, and a two-time Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match. This is his second All-EIVA award after also earning First Team accolades in 2012.
Hammond has been Penn State's starting setter for the entirety of the 2013 season and has played in 93 of the team's 94 sets. He has accumulated 1,011 assists so far this season and is averaging 10.87 assists per set. His assists per set average leads the EIVA and ranks fourth nationally. Hammond has paced the Nittany Lion offense to a .276 hitting percentage, which currently ranks 11th in the nation and is also first in the conference. Five of his primary hitters are hitting .253 or better, including Seifert's EIVA-best .395 hitting percentage. Hammond ranks fourth on the team in digs (107) and has totaled 36 blocks. Hammond was named to the Outrigger Invitational All-Tournament Team and was also honored as a Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match.
Curry picked up his second All-EIVA award after being named to the All-EIVA First Team last season. An EIVA Defensive Player of the Week honoree, Curry started all 26 matches and 94 sets as the libero. He currently leads the Lions in digs (222) and digs per set (2.36). His 2.36 digs per set ranked fourth in the EIVA and 15th nationally. He has led the team in digs 15 times and posted double-digit digs on 10 occasions this season. Curry has a reception percentage of 0.94 and his effective passing has helped Penn State hit .276 so far in 2013.
This is Peter Russell's first EIVA postseason award. He has played in 25 matches, starting 23, at outside hitter for Penn State. Peter Russell ranks second on the team in kills (209) and averages 2.78 kills per set. His 121 digs and 40 blocks both rank third on the squad. His 2.68 kills per set ranks 13th in the league, while his 1.55 digs per set sits at 12th. Peter Russell is second on the team in points with 245.5 and averaged 3.15 per set. This season Peter Russell has been named an EIVA Offensive Player of the Week and a Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match.
Seifert made his debut at middle in 2013 after redshirting in 2012. He started all 26 matches and has played in 86 of the team's 94 sets. He is hitting a league-best .395 for the season and leads the Nittany Lions in blocks with 70, averaging 0.81 per set. The EIVA Defensive Player of the Week, has led Penn State in blocking on 10 occasions. He ranks fifth on the team in kills with 141 and averages 1.64 per set. He has an impressive jump serve and his 16 aces ranks third on the team.
Penn State closes out the regular season tonight and tomorrow in EIVA matchups with Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. Both matches are set for 5:30 p.m. and will be played in the South Gym of Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.