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April 22, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Six members of the Penn State men’s volleyball team have earned EIVA postseason honors, as announced by the conference this afternoon. Junior Aaron Russell highlights the group with his second consecutive Uvaldo Acosta Memorial Player of the Year honor, making him the first Nittany Lion since Joe Sunder (2011-12) to earn back-to-back conference Player of the Year honors.
Russell, redshirt junior Nick Goodell and redshirt sophomore Taylor Hammond earned First Team All-EIVA honors, while senior Peter Russell, redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert and redshirt junior Connor Curry were each awarded second team accolades.
The six All-EIVA honors brings Penn State’s all-time number of conference selections to 194 since 1972. Aaron’s individual award marks the 15th time a Nittany Lion has been honored as the Player of the Year.
Following his second consecutive Off the Block Preseason All-America honor, Aaron picked up four EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors and four Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match accolades this season. His 3.95 kills per set ranks first on the squad, ninth nationally and first in the conference, while his 1.92 digs per set ranks second on the team and 10th in the league.
The three-time First Team All-EIVA selection is also leading the team from behind the service line as his team-high 62 aces and 0.67 aces per frame ranks second nationally and first in the conference. His 62 aces on the year also ranks second on the PSU single-season record list, while his 127 career aces ranks third all-time.
After earning 2013 EIVA Newcomer of the Year and second team All-EIVA honors, Hammond has paced the 2014 team to a .309 hitting clip, which ranks fifth nationally and leads the EIVA. On the year, he’s dished out a conference-high 1,029 assists, averaging 11.18 assists per set, which ranks fifth nationally. Additionally, he has guided four of his top hitters to .332 or better hitting this season. Defensively, his 1.67 digs per set third on the team, while his 0.44 blocks per set slates him tied for fourth-best on the squad.
Goodell’s First Team All-EIVA honor marks the second career postseason EIVA award for the opposite. Goodell opened the season with a trio of standout performances in the Outrigger Invitational to earn All-Tournament team honors. He collected two EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors this season, while also garnering one Defensive Player of the Week award. Playing in every single match for the Nittany Lions, his 3.72 kills per set ranks second on the team, while also ranking second in the conference and 14th nationally.
His 0.36 aces per set also ranks sixth in the conference. Peter’s second team honor marks the second consecutive of his career. Having played in 90 sets on the year, he’s tallied 235 kills, averaging 2.61kills per set, which ranks third on the team. He was named the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week once this season and earned Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match honors twice.
The second team nod is also the second consecutive for Seifert, who returned to the court after a stellar season in 2013. Seifert has seen action in 94 sets this season, contributing 134 kills and 27 aces. His 0.29 aces per frame currently ranks third-best on the team. Defensively, his 67 blocks ranks second on the team, including 14 solo stuffs. In addition to earning EIVA Defensive Player of the Week honors once this season, his 0.71 blocks per set ranks 14th in the conference.
Curry rounds out the group of EIVA honorees with his third consecutive All-EIVA honor after being tabbed to the second team in 2013 and the first team in 2012. Serving as one of two team captains, Curry has played in every single set for the Nittany Lions this season as the starting libero. Recording eight double-digit dig performances this season, his .954 receiving percentage has helped the Nittany Lions to a .309 hitting clip this year.
Penn State is set to host its 17th consecutive EIVA Championship this weekend. The Nittany Lions officially kick off postseason play in the EIVA Semifinals Thursday, April 24. Top-seeded PSU takes on No. 4-seed George Mason at 7:30 p.m. in Rec Hall.
Tickets are priced at $8 for adults and $5 for youth ages 12 and younger. Group tickets are available at a discounted rate of $4 for groups of 15 or more with an advance sale. Admission is free of charge to any student with a valid student ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY or at the door on gameday.
For more information on the 2014 EIVA Championship, please click here.