No. 5 Penn State Men's Volleyball Advances to Semifinals of EIVA Tournament
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 20, 2002 - The fifth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team downed Springfield in three games (30-17, 30-15, 30-18) Saturday night in front of 1,685 fans to advance to the semifinals of the EIVA conference tournament. Junior Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) had a perfect hitting night, notching kills on all 11 of his hitting attempts to hit 1.000 for the night. Penn State improves to 23-3 on the season and is 13-0 at Rec Hall this season, while Springfield falls to 18-9.
Koljesar joins sophomore middle hitter Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) in holding the single-season rally scoring era record for hitting percentage. Keil set the record earlier this season when he went 10-for-10 against Rutgers-Newark on Feb. 16.
Junior outside hitter Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) led Penn State with 14 kills, including six in the second game. Guerra increases his career total to 1,349 and places him fourth on the all-time kill list, 13 kills away from third-place Tony Mazzullo (1997-99). Also providing big numbers for the Lions were senior Jason Hawkins (Lake Mary, Fla.) who posted 12 kills on .556 hitting, and junior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.) who hit .538 with 10 kills.
As a team, Penn State tallied 38 more kills (62-24) and outhit the Pride .621 to .063. The Lions never allowed Springfield to hit above ..085 in any of the three games while themselves posting a .704 hitting percentage in the third stanza. Keil and sophomore Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) contributed to the Penn State hitting percentage by both also hitting 1.000 in the match, Keil successful on all seven attempts while Kowal connected on all four.
Defensively, Penn State outblocked the Pride 5.5 to 3.0. Koljesar provided three of the putbacks while Keil posted two. The Lions also dominated the digging game, 27 to 12. Sophomore libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) led Penn State with seven digs while Koljesar added six.
Senior José Quiñones (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) directed the Penn State offense with 45 kills while also adding three kills and five digs. Quiñones pushes his career assist total to 6,199, 1,439 assists ahead of the second-place total of Dan Pollock (1996-99), which he passed last season.
Top-seed Penn State advances to the semifinal of the EIVA Tournament, to be held on Thursday, April 25. The Lions will face fourth-seed Concordia in the 8:00 p.m. match with second-seeded Rutgers-Newark facing third-seed George Mason at 6:00 p.m. The EIVA Championship match will then be held on Saturday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the NCAA National Championship, to be held May 2 & 4 at Rec Hall.
Please visit the men's volleyball homepage at www.GoPSUsports.com for the complete game and season statistics and an updated EIVA bracket.