In front of a packed crowd in the south gym of Rec Hall, the #6 Penn State Men’s Volleyball team defeated the #12 Lewis Flyers from Romeoville, Illinois in four sets (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18) to improve to 6-1 on the season.
In the first home match of the season, senior Tom Comfort led the team with 18 kills and tied sophomore Connor Curry for the lead in digs with 12.
The first set saw a total of 15 tie scores and 3 lead changes. Although the score stayed close throughout, Penn State started to show its stronger side when senior Nick Turko tied it at 17 with a kill, followed by a block from junior Peter Russell to give Penn State the lead. When Russell and Turko blocked to give Penn State its first set point, Lewis called its second timeout of the set, but it was not enough as Russell came back with a kill to win the first set, 25-22.
The second set saw multiple service errors from both the Flyers and the Nittany Lions. The Flyers’ Geoff Powell kept Lewis in it as Penn State gained a lead of four at 13-9. Lewis called a timeout and began to follow through as they pulled into a tie at 20. Powell would keep them alive with a kill to bring the score to 23-22, but would also mis-hit on the next play, giving Penn State its second set point of the match. The same happened to Lewis player Eric Fitterer, who gave the Flyers another chance to bring them closer, then committed an error on the next play. Penn State won the second set, 25-23.
The Flyers gained their biggest lead of the match thus far in the beginning of the third set, pulling out at a 4-1 run. A service ace from sophomore Aaron Russell (his second of the match) tied it up at 4. Each point was a battle, with another 11 ties in the score during this set. Penn State called its second time out when they were down 21-17. A service error would give the Flyers yet another push. With the help of freshmen Taylor Hammond and Matt Seifert, Penn State delayed the Flyers’ set win, as they didn’t convert until the third set point; however, Lewis took the 3rd set, 25-20.
Service errors plagued Penn State in the beginning of the fourth set, giving Lewis a chance to stay in the match. An illegal hit by Lewis player James Hofmann, though, began a series of plays that would display their young, inexperienced side and give Penn State an opportunity to pull away. After 2 more kills from Comfort, Penn State took their biggest lead of the match, 19-10. Despite a 3-0 run from Lewis, Penn State would win the set, 25-18, leading them to a 3-1 match win.
Penn State takes on Loyola-Chicago on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the main gym of Rec Hall.