No. 7 Penn State Men¡¯s Volleyball Advances to EIVA Final
University Park, Pa., April 24, 2003 - The seventh-ranked Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team defeated Princeton in three games (30-28, 30-27, 30-22) Thursday night to advance to the EIVA Championship match. George Mason defeated Rutgers-Newark in four games in the first semifinal match. The Nittany Lions (25-5) and Patriots will square off on Saturday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.
Senior Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) led the Lions with 16 kills while senior Zach Slenker (Dallastown, Pa.) recorded 15 and junior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) notched 10. Penn State outhit Princeton .333 to .224 while recording 53 kills to the Tigers¡¯ 37.
Junior Nate Matthews (Rochester, N.Y.) dished out 27 assists in three games of play while freshman Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded 18 assists in two games.
Senior Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) posted a match-high five blocks while both Kowal and junior Norm Keil (St. James, N.Y.) both added four. Both teams recorded eight blocks.
Slenker led the team with three service aces while Koljesar and Guerra both notched three as Penn State tallied eight aces to Princeton¡¯s two.
Junior libero Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) posted eight digs to lead the Lions as Penn State outdug the Tigers, 29-23.
For Princeton, Dennis Alshuler and Blake Robinson both posted 10 kills as Jason Liljestrom dished out 30 assists and Mark Stevens recorded eight digs. Brian Hamming and Sean Vitousek both posted three blocks.
Princeton took a 7-3 lead to open the first game before Penn State fought back to tie the game at 10-10 on a Koljesar ace and force a Tiger timeout. The Lions took the 12-11 advantage on a Slenker and Kowal block and maintained the lead, but Princeton hung around, tying the game at 21-21. Three ties ensued before a Tiger service error and a Slenker kill from Matthews gave Penn State the 27-25 lead. A Princeton attack error ended the game at 30-28. Slenker led the Lions with six kills on nine attacks while Kowal recorded five kills on six attempts. Penn State outhit Princeton .324 to .241.
Penn State opened the second game with a 3-1 lead but Princeton fought back to tie the game at 7-7. Five ties followed before a Princeton attack error gave Penn State the 13-12 lead. The teams traded points eight times before a Princeton service error put Penn State up 23-22. The Lions maintained the lead and a Kowal kill ended the game at 30-27. Guerra recorded eight kills in the game as Penn State outhit Princeton .343 to .296.
Game three again remained close early before a Slenker kill gave Penn State the 14-13 lead. Two consecutive Princeton attack errors gave the Lions a four point cushion at 19-15. Penn State remained in control for the remainder of the game, winning 30-22 on a Princeton attack error. Slenker posted six kills on eight attempts as Penn State outhit Princeton .333 to .138.
In the first EIVA semifinal match, George Mason defeated Rutgers-Newark in four games (25-30, 33-31, 30-13, 30-26) behind 21 kills from Felix Campos and 10 from Art Kulans. Setter Dave Egan dished out 53 assists for the Patriots as Brad Kniewel recorded a match-high 17 digs and James Claney tallied 13 blocks. George Mason outblocked the Scarlet Raiders 22.0 to 13.0 and outhit Rutgers-Newark .194 to .064 for the match.
Rutgers-Newark was led by Danko Iordanov with 17 kills as Brian Honsberger posted 10. Setter Aleks Ondelj dished out 42 assists and Bryon Goff and Giovanni Gelpi both posted 10 digs. Henry Richardson led the team with six blocks.
Penn State and George Mason will square off on Saturday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m. for the EIVA Tournament title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship held May 1-3 at Long Beach State. The match will be shown live on College Sports Television (CSTV) and can also be heard on the radio in the State College area on WMAJ 1450 AM or on the web at www.GoPSUsports.com. Call your local cable provider for more information on CSTV or visit www.cstv.com.
Tickets for the EIVA Championship match are $4 for adults and $2 for youth and senior citizens. Penn State students are free with ID. Fans providing a game program from the Penn State football Blue-White game will be admitted for $1. All seats are general admission and doors will open one hour prior to game time.
For complete match and season statistics and updates, please visit the men¡¯s volleyball homepage on Penn State¡¯s official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com.