No. 1 Men's Volleyball Earns Five AVCA All-America Awards
April 28, 2008
University Park, Pa. -
Five members of the top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team have earned AVCA All-America honors, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced today. Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) both earned First Team AVCA All-America honors while senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.), sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) and freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) all earned Second Team AVCA All-America accolades.
Penn State's five selections lead the nation and are the most for the Nittany Lions since the 1982 season. The award is the second of Anderson's career and his first First Team honor, as he earned Second Team honors last year. It is the first career award for Murray, Holt, Lipsitz and Del Valle, and brings Penn State's total number of All-Americans to 68 since 1971.
Anderson earns his second consecutive AVCA All-America award after leading the team with 5.64 kills per game on .390 hitting. Named the EIVA regular-season Player of the Year and Championship Most Outstanding Player, he had double-digit kill numbers in 28 of 29 contests, including eight matches with 20 or more kills. Anderson was tabbed the Outrigger Invitational Most Outstanding Player and picked up AVCA National Player of the Week honors on Feb. 11 after averaging 5.62 kills per game on .486 hitting versus Juniata, Loyola and IPFW. He ranks fourth on the team with 121 digs, an average of 1.34 digs per game, and also has 77 total blocks and 33 total service aces for the year.
Holt earns his first career AVCA All-America award after also picking up First Team All-EIVA and EIVA Championship All-Tournament team honors. He is leading the nation with a .560 hitting percentage with an average of 3.25 kills per game. Holt has produced 17 double-digit kill matches and also has at least two blocks in 27 of 29 matches.
Murray also picks up his first career AVCA All-America honor after directing the Nittany Lions to a nation-leading .398 hitting percentage with an average of 16.15 kills per game. Four of his hitters are averaging more than 2.40 kills per game on .303 hitting and he is averaging 13.48 assists per game, good for second in the country. Murray was tabbed the AVCA National Player of the Week after leading his squad to wins over Cal Baptist and Long Beach State in March. A First Team All-EIVA and EIVA All-Championship selection, Murray ranks third on the squad with 125 digs and also has 76 blocks for the year.
Lipsitz garners his first AVCA All-America honor after averaging 2.40 kills per game on .493 hitting, a mark that places him third in the nation. He has at least one block in 28 of 29 contests, posting 26 multiple-block contests. A First Team EIVA and Academic EIVA selection, Lipsitz had nine double-digit kill matches including a season high 14 kills without an error on 18 swings to hit .778 at Hawaii to open the season.
Del Valle is one of only two freshmen on this year's AVCA All-America squad, joining Cal State Northridge's Cody Loe, who was also named the AVCA National Freshman of the Year. Named the EIVA Newcomer of the Year, a First Team All-EIVA selection and an EIVA All-Championship team honoree, Del Valle's passing has helped the Nittany Lions to a nation-leading .398 hitting percentage with four players averaging more than 2.40 kills per game. He ranks in the top 10 in the country in digs per game, providing 234 total digs for an average of 2.54 digs per game. Del Valle has at least five digs in 25 of 29 contests with nine double-digit dig matches.
For the first time in school history, the top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team has earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship. The Nittany Lions (28-1) will face No. 9 and fourth-seed Ohio State (20-7) Thursday, May 1 at 6:00 p.m. PT (9:00 p.m. ET) in Irvine, Calif., in the first NCAA National Semifinal. The second NCAA National Semifinal, slated for 8:00 p.m. PT (11:00 p.m. ET) will feature No. 2 and third-seed Long Beach State (23-6) against No. 5 and second-seed Pepperdine (16-10). The semifinal winners will meet for a shot at the NCAA National Championship on Saturday, May 3 at 4:00 p.m. PT (7:00 p.m. ET) at the Bren Events Center.
The Penn State-Ohio State match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPNU with a simulcast on ESPN360.com. It can also be heard on the web at www.GoPSUsports.com and in the State College area on WRSC 1390AM. The Long Beach State-Pepperdine contest will also be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPNU with a simulcast on ESPN360.com. The National Championship tilt will be televised live on ESPN2 with an ESPN360.com simulcast.
Penn State claimed its 10th consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) title Saturday night with a three-game sweep of No. 11 George Mason. The Lions will be making their 10th straight and 23rd overall NCAA National Semifinal appearance, having captured the national championship title in 1994.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.
AVCA FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
AVCA SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
AVCA Newcomer of the Year: Cody Loe, CS Northridge