Men’s Volleyball Struggles to the Finish
The Penn State men’s volleyball team struggled in the final weekend of the regular season. After one of their best performances of the season against Ohio State on April 10, the Nittany Lions faded to the finish with a loss last Friday and a narrow victory last Saturday.
Penn State took on Ball State for the third time this season on Friday. The Nittany Lions won both prior meetings 3-0, but in their third meeting, Ball State exacted revenge with a sweep of their own. On their home floor, Ball State was a different team. The Cardinals out-hit the Nittany Lions .351 to .162. Ball State registered 15.5 team blocks, and was never in danger of losing a set. Joe Sunder led Penn State with 13 kills in the 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-22) defeat.
The loss to Ball State seemed to stick with Penn State at the onset of their match on Saturday as well. The Nittany Lions had to claw back from a two-set deficit against IPFW to win 3-2 (20-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-12). Sunder led the team again with 24 kills, and Ryan Wolf finished with 11. Coach Mark Pavlik used this weekend to rest some of his freshmen, which allowed Wolf to have his best match of the season.
At the end of the regular season, Penn State’s record stands at 22-6. The Nittany Lions will get a week off before hosting the EIVA Championship. The semifinals will be played on April 28, and the final on April 30. In the semifinal, Penn State will host either the 4-seed Rutgers-Newark or the 5-seed St. Francis. The Nittany Lions won both meetings with each of these teams this season.