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No. 3 Penn State Men’s Volleyball Dominates Princeton 3-0

No. 3 Penn State men’s volleyball (11-1, 2-0 EIVA) proved to be too much against Princeton (4-8, 0-2 EIVA) in the second match of the weekend at Rec Hall.

A season sweep was on head coach Mark Pavlik’s mind after a dominant performance last night against the Tigers. Brett Wildman led the way for Penn State in kills, notching seven in the winning effort.

How It Happened

The first set of the afternoon looked like a continuation of last night, as Penn State jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. Brady Wedbush showed some inconsistencies in the backend, notching an ace and service error on back-to-back points for Princeton.

Princeton displayed a fighting spirit, however, as the Tigers steadily responded to adversity. The score marked a 10-9 clip in favor of Penn State after a couple of back-and-forth sequences.

Cal Fisher continued to show off his lefty stroke, recording his third kill of the first set in the early going. Penn State went up 13-10 with Owen Rose, but the sophomore displayed too much power and committed a service error.

The Nittany Lions then went on a three-point run forcing Princeton coach Sam Shweisky to call his first timeout. Following the timeout, Princeton scored the next two points, cutting into the Nittany Lions’ lead.

A few more Princeton miscues ensued, giving Penn State a 22-15 a promising edge down the stretch. Cole Bogner’s ace and Princeton’s service point helped cap things off in the first set, with a 25-16 margin in favor of the Nittany Lions.

After a few points into the second set, Wedbush notched another service ace for Princeton. The score was 3-1 favoring the Tigers at that point. Toby Ezeonu had no kills in the opening set for Penn State but recorded two quick kills with the Nittany Lions tying it up at five.

Rose stifled the Princeton attack at the net, providing a huge block and a 9-8 Penn State lead. A long rally was capped off by Fisher’s fifth kill of the match and the lead was all of a sudden extended to three.

More back-and-forth play continued, and it was 16-15 in the second set. Each team traded points late into the set, mostly due to attacking errors committed by both squads. Michal Kowal delivered a clutch ace that gave the Nittany Lions a 23-20 edge. Ezenou then smacked a kill in the middle of the court to reach set point, and Wildman’s kill two points later gave Penn State the 25-21, set-two win.

Cal Fisher and Co. continued to gel for the Nittany Lions early in the third set, jumping out to a 7-4 advantage. Princeton appeared to become addicted to service errors as it continued to induce self-inflicted wounds. Penn State held a 12-9 lead approaching midway through the third.

A couple of Penn State kills and blocks extended the lead to 16-9. Princeton was forced to call a timeout and hope to salvage its match. Wildman came out of the timeout doing what he does best and recorded another kill.

Kowal stretched the Nittany Lions’ lead to 19-13 after his second ace of the afternoon. A net violation against Bogner then gave a point back to Princeton. Ultimately, Rose and Fisher combined for a block, marking No. 12 for Penn State, moving the score to a 23-16 margin.

Rose served for match point and a Princeton attacking error sealed the deal for the Nittany Lions. Penn State won the third set 25-17, taking the match in three sets.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State proved exactly why they are ranked third nationally in both matches this weekend. When this team hits on all cylinders it is almost impossible to win a set against them, let alone a match.
  • Service errors have been the biggest weakness all year, and at times tonight, it continued to show its ugly colors. Penn State had 17 service errors in three sets.

What’s Next?

Penn State will be back on the court at 6 p.m. next Friday, February, 24 against conference foe NJIT. The match will take place in the Garden State, giving NJIT a home-court advantage.

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About the Author

CJ Gill

CJ is a sophomore from McVeytown, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism and an associate editor at Onward State. He's a huge Phillies fan, which has its pro and cons come October. You can send all disagreements to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @CJGill14.

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