Three Penn State Mení»s Volleyball Players Earn AVCA All-America Honors
Los Angeles, Calif., May 4, 2005 -- Three Penn State mení»s volleyball players were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America teams, it was announced at the NCAA Championship Banquet in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Junior middle hitter Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was named to the first team while senior middle hitter Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) and junior opposite Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) earned second team accolades. The selections mark Penn Stateí»s 59th, 60th and 61st all-time All-America selections since 1971.
The AVCA First Team All-America honor is the first-career All-America honor for Meerstein. A First Team All-EIVA selection, Meerstein ranks second on the team with 345 kills, good for a 2.97 kills per game average. He is attacking at a team-high .521 clip, which also ranks him second on the all-time single-season list. Meerstein has led the team in kills on eight occasions and has recorded 10 kills 18 times, including six of the last eight matches. He has 163 total blocks for the year, an average of 1.41 blocks per game, good for second on the team. The mark also stands tied for second on the all-time single-season total blocks list and he tied his career-high blocking numbers with 10 stuffs versus George Mason in the EIVA Championship Final on April 30.
Kowal earned his third consecutive AVCA All-America honor as he was a first team selection last season and a second team honoree as a sophomore in 2003. An EIVA All-Championship and First Team All-EIVA selection, Kowal leads the team in blocks with a Penn State record 190 total blocks, just 10 away from becoming the first-ever Penn State player to record more than 200 blocks in a season. He has three double-digit blocking matches, including a career-high and Penn State single-match record 13 at Princeton on March 27. He has recorded at least five blocks in 20 contests this season and also ranks second on the team in hitting percentage, attacking at a .476 clip. Kowal has 276 kills for the season, an average of 2.51 kills per game. He has 11 double-digit kill matches, including a season-high 17 at UC Irvine, which came on a season-high .773 hitting percentage (17-0-22).
A first team Academic All-American last season, Kowal earned Academic All-EIVA honors with a 3.64 grade point average in Electrical Engineering.
The AVCA Second Team All-America accolade is the first All-America honor of Properí»s career. The 2005 EIVA Player of the Year and First Team All-EIVA selection leads the team with 4.05 kills per game and has topped the squad in kills in 18 matches this season, including a career-high 26 versus George Mason on April 30 in the EIVA Championship Final. The EIVA Championship Most Valuable Player has recorded double-digit kills in 26 matches, has tallied 15 or more kills 16 times and has at least five kills in 31 matches. He leads the team in service aces with 33 and ranks third on the squad in blocking with 146 total blocks, good for seventh on the single-season list. He has notched a block in every match of the year and has 30 multiple-block matches, including 22 matches of four or more blocks.
Proper was also named to the Academic All-EIVA team as he has a 3.50 grade point average in Information Sciences and Technology.
Second-ranked Penn State faces fourth-ranked UCLA in the NCAA Championship Semifinals hosted by UCLA on Thursday, May 5 at 10:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. PT). The contest will be aired live on ESPN2 and ESPNU. Top-ranked Pepperdine faces ninth-ranked Ohio State in the second semifinal match at approximately 11:59 p.m. ET (8:59 p.m. PT). The two semifinals winners compete for the National Championship on Saturday, May 7 at 11:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. ET) live on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
For more information on the Penn State mení»s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.