No. 3 Penn State Men’s Volleyball Sweeps No. 15 Charleston 3-0
No. 3 Penn State men’s volleyball (23-3, 9-0 EIVA) swept No. 15 Charleston (22-5, 5-4) Friday night at Rec Hall in its second-to-last match of the regular season.
The Nittany Lions started off slow in set one, however, strong play from Cal Fisher and Michal Kowal led Penn State to another conference sweep. Fisher and Kowal both had 11 kills on the night.
How It Happened
Cal Fisher started off hot for the Nittany Lions, earning the first two points for Penn State in a back-and-forth opening first set. Charleston came to play, as the Golden Eagles jumped out to an early 7-4 advantage.
Moments later, Owen Rose and Fisher combined on a crucial block to bring the score to within one at 7-6. A Charleston service error tied the score all up at 10, setting the stage for an exciting first set. Michal Kowal dropped in his first ace of the match in an attempt to start a run for the Nittany Lions.
Head coach Mark Pavlik was forced to call a timeout after the Golden Eagles went on a three-point run to lead 19-17. Back-to-back points from Fisher and Kowal forced a Charleston timeout. Cole Bogner and Rose combined on a massive block to keep the Nittany Lions in set one.
The Rec Hall crowd rose to its feet as the Nittany Lions rallied late, scoring the last three points of set one, capped off by another Fisher kill to win the set 25-23. Fisher’s final dagger was his seventh of the set.
Charleston continued with its momentum gained in the opening set, leading the second 5-4 over the third-ranked Nittany Lions early. Toby Ezeonu joined in on the fun with a kill of his own, making it a 9-8 game in favor of Penn State.
Penn State earned the tiniest of breathing room thanks to back-to-back kills from Kowal. The score was 13-11 approaching the halfway point of set two. The largest lead either team had was 16-12 in favor of the Nittany Lions after a Golden Eagles attacking error.
The momentum continued for Penn State, taking control of the set 19-13. The Golden Eagles were forced to call a timeout in an effort to crawl back into the game. Michael Valenzi finished off a long rally with an impressive kill late in the set. The Nittany Lions took set two 25-19.
For the first time all night, Penn State took control out of the gate, jumping out to a 7-1 lead. Charleston called a timeout in an attempt to salvage the third set before it was lost. Rose continued to dominate at the net. The sophomore fired off a kill to bring the score to 11-4.
Penn State showed off its dominance as the Nittany Lions took over to lead 17-7 late into the third set. Substitutes for both teams began to appear in a match when the blue and white began to fully control. Charleston showed its heart, scoring three straight points to make it 20-11. However, Penn State easily took the third set 25-13, sweeping the Golden Eagles.
- Charleston gave the Nittany Lions possibly their best set of EIVA competition all season in the first set. The Golden Eagles tested Penn State throughout the opener, providing some good experience ahead of postseason play.
- Cal Fisher is that dude. The graduate senior continued to prove his importance to the Nittany Lions. Fisher had 11 kills on the night and seven in the first set when he willed Penn State to victory.
- Penn State appears to still be the well-oiled machine it has been for most of the season. The Nittany Lions have dominated conference play and if the pieces fall right, they could make a serious run this postseason.
Penn State will wrap up its regular season with match two against the Golden Eagles at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, in Rec Hall.
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About the Author
When paired with the Thespian Society by Penn State THON, the world changed for Theresa Illicete.
Fashanu is the Nittany Lions’ most recent First-Team All-American since Micah Parsons in 2019.
Johnson is the second Penn Stater to declare for the NFL Draft.