Men’s Volleyball Advances to NCAA Championship Match
Last night in Stanford, California, the #3 seed Penn State men’s volleyball team took down #2 Cal State Northridge in dominating fashion. The Nittany Lions swept the Matadors 3-0 (30-21, 30-23, 30-28) to lock down their 2nd national championship berth in the last three years. Senior Will Price and Sophomore Joe Sunder both led the team with 18 kills each. First team All-American Max Lipsitz led both teams with nine blocks from the middle.
With the men’s team in the national championship this year, Penn State has had a team (men or women) in the finals of the volleyball national championship in five of the last six opportunities. The women’s team, of course, has won three national championships in a row, going back to 2007. They have been utterly dominant in the sport, having strung together 102 consecutive wins.
While the men haven’t been quite as perfect, they have been in the final four of the national championship for the past 11 years in a row and have won the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference championship every year since 1995, with the exception of 1998. They also won the title in 2008, and their victory last night confirms the notion the Penn State has the strongest overall volleyball program in the country.
What has made the Nittany Lions the most dominant program in the sport of volleyball the past 15 years? Without question it has to be the coaches. Russ Rose and Mark Pavlik are titans in the sport of volleyball. Rose has compiled an unbelievable 1,001-159 record in his 31 years as head coach, while Pavlik’s 339-101 record over 14 years is similarly impressive. Between the two teams, there have been a staggering 84 All-American selections and six national championships.
The men will attempt to turn that six into a seven when they take on the Stanford Cardinal Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EST on ESPN2.