No. 7 Men’s Volleyball Wins 12th Straight, Beats Princeton in Four Sets
Penn State men’s volleyball headed east to the Garden State for an EIVA matchup on the night before the Blue-White Game and started the weekend off with a four-set win over the Princeton Tigers (25-27, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15). The match was the team’s 12th-straight win, and it came after the team clinched the conference last weekend against Sacred Heart.
How It Happened
A rare set loss by the Nittany Lions gave Princeton the 1-0 lead after one. Six of their 11 previous wins came by way of sweep, but Princeton quickly erased that possibility by coming out swinging. Both teams played almost point-for-point up until the 25-25 mark, when Penn State’s Nick Goodell committed a service error, then Princeton’s Cody Kessel finished the next point to give the home team the 27-15 win.
Penn State rebounded in the second, winning six of the set’s first eight points and continuing on to a 25-19 win on the back of senior outside hitter Aaron Russell. After Penn State won the first two points, Princeton wasn’t able to tie the set, let alone take the lead, and the away team cruised.
The Nittany Lions followed the performance with a competitive 25-21 win in the third to take their first lead of the match. Princeton hung around until the score was 20-20, but lost five of the following six points.
With Princeton on the ropes, Russell and Co. finished the match off with a 25-15 win in the fourth and final set. Having dominated the two programs’ head-to-head history with a 52-3 record, Penn State completed what seemed inevitable as it finished the match off on a 9-4 run.
Player of the Game
Aaron Russell and his team-leading four aces and 14 kills, including the set-winner in the second, tying the match at 1-1.
- Penn State moves to 10-0 in EIVA play with the win. The team clinched the regular season title last weekend, but continued its dominance in this one.
- Last week, Penn State’s hitting percentages as a team were dominant. Jalen Penrose led the team with a .500 hitting percentage in this one, but the next closest performances were Seifert and Nugent with at .333 and .308, respectively.
- Two regular season matches remain before the EIVA Tournament, in which Penn State has already clinched the top-seed. Despite the guaranteed advantage, the Nittany Lions won’t want to lose against NJIT tomorrow or Saint Francis next weekend.
The Nittany Lions will stick around in New Jersey for an extra night as they take on NJIT Saturday at 3 p.m.