April 30, 2014
2014 NCAA Championship Central
CHICAGO -Making their 16th consecutive appearance in the NCAA national semifinals, fifth-ranked No. 12 Penn State (25-6) men's volleyball is set to square off against top-seeded No. 2 Loyola Chicago(27-1) Thursday, May 1 at 9 p.m. in Gentile Arena.
The winner of the matchup will advance to the NCAA national finals Saturday, May 3, colliding with the winner of the BYU/Stanford match for the national championship title. Fans can catch the Nittany Lions live in action against the Ramblers via NCAA.com or listen to the match on WRSC 103.1 FM.
RECAPPING THE PLAY-IN VICTORY
Penn State knocked off Lewis in four sets (27-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19) in the NCAA play-in match to earn the final remaining spot in the 2014 NCAA national semifinals.
Junior Aaron Russell powered the Nittany Lion offense with 20 kills, nine digs, four blocks and two aces. Redshirt junior Nick Goodell and senior Peter Russell also turned in double-digit kill performances, recording 18 and 15, respectively.
PENN STATE VS. LOYOLA - LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions moved to 10-8 all-time against the Ramblers after dropping a 3-1 decision on the road earlier this season. Despite the outcome, both Aaron Russell and Nick Goodellregistered double-digit kill performances, led by 18 from Russell on .452 hitting.
GOODELL AND RUSSELL TO BE HONORED AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP BANQUET
Junior Aaron Russell and redshirt junior Nick Goodellwill both be honored at the annual NCAA national championship banquet for their AVCA All-America honors they earned last week. Russell was selected as a first team AVCA All-American, while Goodell earned honorable mention honors.
Russell is the first Nittany Lion to earn a selection to the first team since Joe Sunder in 2011. Goodell marks the first honorable mention selection for PSU since 2001, when Carlos Guerra and Zeljko Koljesar each earned the distinction. The duo of accolades improves Penn State's total number of AVCA All-Americans to 81 since 1971. Both awards mark the first career AVCA post season honor for the duo.
AMONG THE BEST SERVERS IN THE NATION
Junior Aaron Russellcontinues to impress from the service line, as his 0.66 aces per frame currently ranks second nationally. His team-high mark also leads the conference. In 2013, Russell tallied 40 aces on the year, which ranks 10th all-time on the single-season record list. With 69 aces on the year, he's set a new single-season personal best. His 69 aces this year ranks second all-time on the single season list. On the career list, his 134 aces ranks second all-time.
AN ALL AROUND CONTRIBUTOR
Within the EIVA standings, junior Aaron Russellclosed out the conference slate as the only student-athlete to be ranked within the top-10 in kills, digs and aces. Averaging 4.05 kills per set and 0.66 aces per set, Russell is leading the league in both categories. His 1.92 digs per set ranks 10th overall.
Should Penn State defeat Loyola, the Nittany Lions would advance to the NCAA national finals, which are set for Saturday, May 3 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The advancing squad will take on the winner of the BYU/Stanford NCAA national semifinal. A PSU victory would mark the Nittany Lions' first appearance in the NCAA national finals since 2010.