Men’s Volleyball Drops Sixth Straight, Falls To No. 2 Lewis In Four Sets
Penn State’s rough start to the 2015 season continues to get worse, as the Nittany Lions fell to No. 2 Lewis 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20), dropping to 0-6 on the season.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions knew Saturday night’s contest would be a challenge–Lewis came in as the No. 2 team in the country–and was quite evident after the first set of play. After going down 14-10 in the first frame, Penn State called a timeout to regroup. The Nittany Lions held a presence in front of the net early on throughout this one, but it was Lewis’ overpowering defense up front that sent the Flyers to victory. Two kills in a row brought Penn State to within three, but a pair of blocks from Lewis widened the gap, putting the Flyers ahead 19-13.
After losing the first set, Penn State regrouped, and came out with a much different intensity to begin the second frame, battling back and forth to eventually take the second set, knotting up the match 1-1.
The third set was the game’s closest, as both teams stayed neck and neck with each other down the stretch. Lewis’ hot streak towards the end of the frame helped the Flyers stay on top. Penn State was resilient, staying within two points throughout most of the set. Aaron Russell helped extend the frame by holding off a set point, though to no avail, as Lewis eventually secured the third set 25-22.
The fourth and eventual final set was an impressive one for Lewis defensively, as the Nittany Lions simply could not find a way past early. The Flyers came out with an onslaught of blocks, but were countered by a Russell-led offensive charge, taking the Nittany Lions to within three points at 14-11. Lewis responded with a charge of their own, one that proved to be too much. The Flyers would eventually win the final set 25-20, highlighted by a series of ridiculous blocks, to secure the victory.
Player Of The Game
Despite the loss, Penn State’s Aaron Russell was an unstoppable force on Saturday night. Although he could not rally the troops, his match-high 23 kills and nine digs earns him game MVP honors.
Tweet Of The Game
Penn State men’s volleyball falls 3-1 for the second straight night and 0-6 on the season. Team struggling with battle up front
— Mark Puleo (@MarkRunner96) January 25, 2015
This basically sums it up for the Nittany Lions. Despite coming out strong in front of the net early on, the team was generally exploited as the game played on.
As previously noted, Penn State falls to 0-6 on the season, still searching for the team’s first victory. After an impressive exhibition showing, the team simply fell apart after the regular season began, and it doesn’t get much easier from here on out. The team still faces the likes of Ohio State, and will see No. 1 Loyola Chicago once more later on in the year, this time on the road.
Next up for the struggling Nittany Lions will be a home matchup against Mount Olive at Rec Hall on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.
Photo: Mark Selders