April 28, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -Fresh off their 26th EIVA Championship title in program history, the fifth-seeded No. 12 Penn State men's volleyball team (24-6, 13-1) is set to take on fourth-seeded Lewis (23-7, 11-3) in the second NCAA play-in match Tuesday, April 29 at 9 p.m. ET in Gentile Arena. The winner of the matchup will advance to the 2014 NCAA national semifinals to square off against top-ranked tournament host Loyola, Thursday, May 1.
WEEK 16 IN REVIEW
Penn State captured its 16th consecutive and 26th overall EIVA Championship crown last weekend, with wins against George Mason and Princeton in the annual conference. The Nittany Lions opened the event with a 3-1 win against the Patriots in the semifinals before defeating Princeton to secure the conference title.
PENN STATE VS. LEWIS - LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions improved to 18-8 all-time against the Flyers after rallying from behind by one set to knock off Lewis in four sets earlier this year. PSU hit .402 against Lewis in the win, behind a 22-kill performance from junior Aaron Russell. While the two teams have never met in NCAA post season play, Penn State has compiled a 10-2 record against the Flyers in regular-season competition.
RUSSELL AND GOODELL EARN EIVA ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
Redshirt junior Nick Goodell and junior Aaron Russellearned spots on the EIVA Championship All-Tournament team after helping Penn State to the conference title. While both notched back-to-back double-digit performances last weekend, Goodell was tabbed the 2014 Most Outstanding Player.
PENN STATE CLAIMS EIVA RALLIES! AWARD
After capturing the monthly EIVA Rallies! Award in February and March, the Nittany Lions were crowned the EIVA Rallies! award winners at the 2014 EIVA Championship. During the regular-season, the award was presented monthly to the EIVA team with the highest attendance from February to April. In March, Penn State averaged 666 fans at its home matches, which was up nearly 100 fans from February's total of 594. This year's 2014 EIVA Rallies! Award was based soley on fan attendance. Throughout the duration of the campaign, Penn State emerged as the overall conference squad with the highest number of fans at each match.
Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik and the Penn State men's volleyball team kicked off the EIVA Rallies campaign at the start of the season to help raise awareness for the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Pavlik donned a fedora in the Nittany Lions' matchup against travel partner, Saint Francis, Saturday, Feb. 1 to show his support. He put on the hat once more, when PSU visited the Red Flash on the road. The organization is one of the largest and oldest private cancer centers and has dedicated more than 100 years to patient care and innovative research.
CURRY TABBED ACADEMIC ALL-EIVA
Redshirt junior Connor Curryearned his third consecutive spot on the Academic All-EIVA team in 2014. He joined 14 other student-athletes from six different league schools on the squad.
Marking his third career Academic All-EIVA honor, Curry has served as Penn State's starting libero for the last three seasons, picking up three All-EIVA awards along the way. As one of two team captains this year, he's played in every set for the Nittany Lions in 2014.
To be eligible for Academic All-EIVA honors, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher and have participated in at least 60 percent of the matches played by their team.
SIX EARN ALL-EIVA HONORS
Six Nittany Lions earned EIVA postseason honors this season highlighted by junior Aaron Russell, who tallied 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 Currywere 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.
Should Penn State defeat Lewis, the Nittany Lions will advance to the 2014 NCAA national semifinals Thursday, May 1. Fifth-seeded PSU will square off against top-ranked tournament host Loyola Chicago at 9 p.m. ET in Gentile Arena. The winner of the matchup advances to the national finals Saturday, May 3.