Men’s Volleyball Goes 2-2 Over Spring Break
The Penn State men’s volleyball team was busy over spring break. After traveling to Massachusetts to take on Springfield, the Nittany Lions flew to California for three more games last week.
On March 5, Penn State remained undefeated in conference play with a 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19) win over Springfield. Joe Sunder led the way for Penn State with 16 kills, Tom Comfort had 12, and Jace Olson had 11. With the victory, the Nittany Lions improved to 7-0 in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) and maintained a one-game lead over George Mason. With just three conference games left, the Nittany Lions looked poised to win their 27th EIVA title.
The tenth-ranked Nittany Lions then traveled to California for three games. The first came on Wednesday against eighth-ranked UCLA. Despite a match-high 22 kills from Sunder and 18 from Comfort, Penn State fell 3-2 (23-25, 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 19-17). The loss broke a seven-game win streak for Penn State and was the second to UCLA this season.
Penn State rebounded by beating fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Friday, 3-1 (17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22). Comfort came up big for the Nittany Lions, leading the team with 18 kills. Sunder, per normal, had a high kill-count with 17. This win was a much-needed boost of confidence for Penn State, as UC Santa Barbara is the type of team that Penn State could face come tournament time.
The Nittany Lions finished their road trip on Saturday, suffering a 3-1 (21-25, 21-25, 29-27, 20-25) defeat to Long Beach State. Sunder once again led the way with 17 kills, but Comfort was held to just nine kills on .111 hitting. The Nittany Lions struggled against Long Beach State, hitting only .258 as a team.
Despite losing twice in California, Penn State’s six-game road trip has been a success. The Nittany Lions won all three of their conference games and upset UC Santa Barbara during this stretch, moving the team to 15-5 on the season. This week, the Nittany Lions are host to Ball State and IPFW. Penn State beat Ball State earlier this season, while the match-up with IPFW will be the team’s first.
Friday: vs. Ball State, 7 p.m.
Saturday: vs. IPFW, 7 p.m.