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No. 6 Penn State Men’s Volleyball Sweeps Central State 3-0

No. 6 Penn State men’s volleyball (1-0) swept Central State (0-1) in its season opener at Rec Hall Thursday night. The Nittany Lions were dominant early and slowed up some at the end, but managed to secure the sweep.

How It Happened

Penn State started the season with a kill by John Kerr off the opening serve. An error on Central State and a kill by Owen Rose got the Nittany Lions off to an early 3-0 lead. Central State then got on the board with a service error by Rose and a kill by Tyrone Sands.

At 4-2, the blue and white went on a 4-0 run that consisted of kills from Toby Ezeonu, Michael Schwob, and Michael Valenzi plus an ace by Kerr to cap off the run as Central State used its first timeout.

After the timeout, it was more of the same for Penn State. With two Central State errors and four more kills from the Nittany Lions, the lead quickly grew to 13-2. The run then ended with a kill by Simon Falayi for the Marauders.

Central State scored again off an error by Valenzi, but Penn State scored two of its own to make it 15-4 Penn State. However, Central State began to close the lead after three Nittany Lions errors.

The momentum began to switch sides at 19-6 where the Marauders went on a 5-0 run to make it 19-11. However, the big run for the Mauraders was not enough to mount the large comeback as Penn State found its groove again and closed out the first set 25-14.

The second set started 2-0 Penn State with a kill from Rose and an ace by Michal Kowal. The Marauders then got on the board and were followed by a kill by Kerr. Central State then tied the set at 5-5 due to an error on Rose a kill by Ian Ford, an ace by Simon, and another error by Valenzi.

The teams began to exchange the lead again until Penn State gained a five-point lead at 12-7 with kills by Kerr and Rose, and three straight aces from Kowal that led to a Central State timeout.

Kerr earned another kill after the break followed by four straight errors by both teams until Sands earned a kill for Central State to make it 15-10 for the Nittany Lions. From there, Penn State went on a 3-0 run. The short-run propelled the Nittany Lions to winning its second set 25-17.

A back-and-forth start to the third set resulted in a 3-3 tie with multiple errors from both teams. The Marauders then jumped to a 5-3 lead due to two Penn State errors, but Penn State scored two back off a Sands service error and a Will Kuhns kill.

The back-and-forth play continued until Alain Tamo-Noche earned two consecutive kills for Central State to make it 9-7 Marauders. Penn State then went on a 3-0 run with kills by Matthew Luoma and Kuhns. A service error by Kowal tied the set back up at 10.

Two Central State errors and a Kuhns kill resulted in another 3-0 Penn State run but the Marauders went on a 5-0 run of their own due to three Penn State errors, and an ace by Tamo-Noche. Penn State then called its first timeout of the match.

After the break, Central State had three errors to give Penn State a 16-15 lead. Penn State then scored three more times off a Luoma ace and consecutive kills by Ezeonu. From there it was all Penn State. After a service error by Luoma, Penn State went on a 6-3 run to win the third set 25-19.

Takeaways

  • In his 30th season, head coach Mark Pavlic had his guys on point with five players having a hitting percentage of .500 or higher.
  • Ezeonu started the season off strong with 10 kills in the first match of the season. The two-time All-American picked up where he left off last year.
  • Schwob, a freshman, made an impact with three kills and 22 assists in his collegiate debut. It’s a good sign that the future of Penn State men’s volleyball is in good hands.

What’s Next?

Penn State will face Lewis at 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, in Rec Hall. The game will be aired on BTN+. 

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About the Author

Mitchell Corcoran

Mitch is a junior broadcast journalism major from Johnstown, PA. He is a big Pittsburgh sports fan and in his free time he likes to listen to music, play video games, and rewatch old football games. He also loves Seinfeld, Star Wars, bucket hats, and Dua Lipa. If you want Justin Herbert propaganda or random sports content, follow him on Twitter/X @MitchCorc18 or email [email protected]

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