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Penn State Men’s Volleyball Rises To No. 8 In AVCA Poll, Michael Valenzi & Toby Ezenou Earn EIVA Weekly Awards

Penn State men’s volleyball jumped up a spot to No. 8 in the latest AVCA Poll, which was released Monday.

The rise comes after back-to-back wins over No. 1 Ohio State where the Nittany Lions defeated the Buckeyes 3-1 in Columbus on Thursday and won 3-2 in a reverse sweep on Sunday in the “Wear White” game. The Ohio State team that Penn State defeated twice, for both of the Buckeyes’ losses on the season, was ranked No. 6 in the poll.

Along with the back-to-back victories, Penn State swept this week’s EIVA weekly conference awards as Michael Valenzi was named Offensive Player of the Week and Toby Ezeonu was named Defensive Player of the Week.

In the two matches, Valenzi hit at a .386 clip and averaged 3.00 kills, 1.33 digs, and 0.44 blocks per set. In the final set against the Buckeyes in Sunday’s match, Valenzi recorded six kills and no errors. He finished the match with 14 kills, six digs, and three blocks while hitting .393. This was Valenzi’s second EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honor.

On the defensive side, Ezeonu had three blocks and 14 kills while hitting .500 and holding Ohio State to .200 hitting in Thursday’s matchup. In Sunday’s game, Ezeonu helped hold the Buckeyes to .230 hitting and earned 10 kills on .500 hitting. This was Ezeonu’s fourth EIVA Defensive Player of the Week honor.

The 6-2 Nittany Lions will face Ball State at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 2, in Muncie, Indiana.

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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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