Three Walk-ons Commit To Penn State Men's Volleyball
State College, Pa., June 1, 2000 - Penn State men's volleyball head coach Mark Pavlik has announced that he has received commitments from three walk-ons who plan on joining the Nittany Lions beginning with the 2000-01 season. Included in the trio are Ricky Mattei (San Juan, P.R.), Rhonee Rojas (Honolulu) and Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.).
Mattei, a 5-11 libero/outside hitter, attends Colegio San Ignacio in San Juan, P.R. He was selected as a USA Junior Championships All-American in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Mattei has a reputation as a solid defensive player and will be looked to help the Lions in that area.
"Ricky is probably one of the most athletic and competitive players we have had come in here in quite some time," Pavlik said. "His experience and ball control skills will certainly make us a better team."
Rojas, a 6-0 outside hitter/libero, attends University Laboratory School in Honolulu. He was named a USA Junior Championships All-American in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Rojas will be expected to provide the Nittany Lions with depth at both the libero and outside hitter positions.
"Rhonee has gained great experience playing on the islands and has found ways to win everywhere he has played" Pavlik said. "We expect him to come in and compete at both positions."
Kowal, a 6-6 middle blocker, attends Wilson Area High School in Reading, Pa. Kowal has only been playing organized volleyball for the past two and a half months, though what he lacks in experience he brings in athletic ability. Kowal possesses a strong vertical leap and can touch 11'9".
"Keith is one of the most athletic kids I have ever seen in the Pennsylvania area," Pavlik said. "We are going to have to be patient with him, due to his great athletic ability I feel he will develop into a solid player at the collegiate level."
"This recruiting class has certainly improved our ball control skills which should lead to an even better execution of our offense and their (recruits) ability to score points should prove beneficial to the team."
Penn State closed out the 2000 season with an overall mark of 20-14 and qualified for its 15th appearance in the NCAA Championships.