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No. 3 Penn State Men’s Volleyball Sweeps Harvard In Straight Sets

No. 3 Penn State men’s volleyball (20-3, 6-0 EIVA) only needed three sets to take down Harvard (7-13, 0-6 EIVA) in the second of two matches in as many days.

The Nittany Lions followed up their straight-set win over the Crimson with another sweep Saturday afternoon in Cambridge. Michal Kowal and Brett Wildman combined for 18 total kills to lead the way.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions jumped out to an early lead in the first set thanks to multiple early service errors committed by the Crimson. Harvard was forced to call the first timeout of the match down 8-3. The Crimson responded following the timeout scoring four-straight points.

After more back-and-forth action, Zach Berty finished off a long rally with a kill to tie the game at 11. Penn State took control moments later, led by consecutive aces from Toby Ezenonu. Owen Rose’s kill made it a 22-16 advantage in the first set.

The Crimson attempted to make a late comeback, but an Ethan Smith error made it set point for the Nittany Lions. Wildman notched his first kill of the match and wrapped up the set 25-17 for the Nittany Lions.

Cole Bogner joined the party for the Nittany Lions. The All-American notched an ace to make it 5-3. Berty responded with an ace of his own and the Crimson only trailed by two. Service aces were the name of the game in set two as Fisher dropped a beauty of an ace to bring the set to 12-9.

Kowal extended the Nittany Lions’ lead to 17-14 with a kill from his outside position. Just as it looked like Penn State would pull away, Harvard responded with three consecutive points to tie it at 17. Ryan Hong provided the first lead late in a set with another Crimson kill.

Harvard held a slim 21-20 advantage as the Crimson aimed for their first set victory of the weekend. Penn State regained the lead, forcing a Harvard timeout at 23-22. The second set was extended and tied at 26 points. Wildman’s ace finally finished off the Crimson and won the set 29-27 for the Nittany Lions.

Harvard was unable to regain any momentum it built in the second set as the Nittany Lions led the third 5-2 thanks to multiple Ezeonu points. Trevor Schultz’s ace gave the Crimson their first lead of the third set at 9-8.

Kowal regained the lead for his Nittany Lions after a kill finished off a long rally between both teams. Penn State seemed to spark some momentum as it won three of the last four points, leading 14-13. Gabe Hatrke recorded his fifth ace of the season to extend the lead to 18-16.

Harvard was forced to call a timeout in an attempt to save the match and spark a late comeback. Smith’s service error sealed the Crimson’s fate, losing the set 25-21. Penn State pulled out the straight-set win 3-0.


  • Mark Pavlik did an impressive job of getting multiple bench players quality game action this weekend. This will not only benefit the Nittany Lions this season but also in the future as they graduate many key contributors.
  • Service aces proved to be the story of the three-set match. The Nittany Lions dominated in the serving category, notching 11 aces in the victory. Harvard only recorded three aces in the loss.
  • Although Harvard never won a set against the third-ranked Nittany Lions, the Crimson showed a lot of heart in both matchups and came very close to stealing the set multiple times.

What’s Next?

Penn State will be back in action with more conference play against George Mason at 7 p.m. on April 7, in Fairfax, Virginia.

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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 has the great privilege of living in central Pennsylvania, which has one benefit: two options for favorite sports teams. Here we go Steelers and Go Phils! You can send all disagreements to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @CJGill14.

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