Four Nittany Lions Honored By Volleyball Magazine
State College, Pa., July 2, 2001 - Four members of the Penn State men's volleyball team were recently recognized with postseason honors by Volleyball Magazine. Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was named the Libero of the Year, while Jose Quinones (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) earned first-team All-America honors. In addition, Carlos Guerra (Tamaulipus, Mexico) and Zeljko Koljesar (Kitchener, Ontario) were named as honorable mention All-Americans and Mattei was selected to the publication's All-Freshman squad.
"These individual honors certainly reflect greatly upon the men's volleyball program at Penn State and its achievements this past season," Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said. "The individual efforts given by the honored student-athletes is only the tip of the iceberg. The efforts made by their teammates, coaches, managers and support staff allow them to realize their full potential in a true team environment."
Quinones has continued to establish himself as one of the top collegiate setters in the nation after winning the EIVA Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive season after leading the Nittany Lions to a national semifinals appearance. The 2001 season saw him become Penn State's all-time leader in assists as well as being named an AVCA All-American. Quinones averaged 13.02 assists and 1.12 kills per game during his junior campaign.
"Jose has established himself as one of the top players nationally and being named to Volleyball Magazine's top six is certainly a very worthy honor for him," Pavlik said. "His great dedication and hard work over his first three years is paying off and sets the tone for him to have a solid senior season."
Mattei burst on the scene as a freshman for the Lions in 2001 and quickly proved himself as one of the finest defensive specialists in collegiate men's volleyball. Mattei led Penn State with 1.90 digs per frame last season in addition to thriving in the role as the team's primary passer.
"So many times a player that passes, plays great defense and makes his teammates better get overlooked," Pavlik said. "Being named as the Libero of the Year and earning a spot on the all-freshman squad mean's Ricky's efforts were recognized by others in and around the game. His maturity, both on and off the court, enabled him to help the team reach the level which it did."
Guerra and Koljesar were key components in a Penn State offensive attack that posted a total of 16.48 kills per game. Guerra enjoyed a sophomore campaign, which saw him post 4.55 kills per game, while Koljesar netted 3.65 kills per frame in his sophomore season.
Penn State finished the 2001 season 24-8 and advanced to the NCAA semifinals were it was defeated by BYU.