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Penn State Men’s Volleyball Entering Much-Needed Bye Week

Penn State men’s volleyball has had a busy three weeks. Following a trip out west over spring break, the Nittany Lions returned home and began preparing for a home-and-home series against Saint Francis just a week later.

The blue and white came out sluggish against the Red Flash on Saturday, dropping the first two sets before engineering a reverse sweep to take the first match in the series. The group was once again taken to five sets the next day after the Red Flash won sets two and three.

Head coach Mark Pavlik said there’s a lot his team needs to improve on before heading back into EIVA play, but this week isn’t the week to make the changes. The Nittany Lions are heading into a bye week, their first weekend without a match since January 4.

“The big thing for us this week is rest and recuperation,” Pavlik said. “Today, they’re gonna warm up their arms, they’re gonna pepper and we’re gonna go into a self-toss. We’re gonna pass and serve for about 15 minutes and then I’m kicking them out of here.”

The week off is coming at the right time. Pavlik and Co.’s last three matches have gone five sets with the three matches before that heading to four sets. Coupled with the travel logistics of volleyball, the Nittany Lions are tired.

“Just think about on your average day, how much walking you put in to go to class or wherever you need to go?” Pavlik said. “Now, throw on top of that the matches, the jumps, the training, and the strength and conditioning. These guys have got to find some time where you can just let them get off their feet.”

Pavlik often emphasizes the load management of his players. It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by the fact he plans on kicking his team out of the gym after practicing the fundamentals. He’s not afraid of any talent regression from giving his veterans rest and believes that it pays dividends later with the frequent jumping and landing that comes with a collegiate volleyball game.

The height of his players doesn’t lend itself well to travel either. Pavlik said the plane rides during spring break were tough on his taller players. Being cramped on a cross-country flight and playing four matches before heading back on the plane isn’t easy and it was evident the Nittany Lions weren’t yet recovered when they took the court against Saint Francis last Saturday.

Regardless, Pavlik’s team found a way to win. Even though it took five sets in both matches, the Nittany Lions are heading into their empty weekend with momentum. They’ll come out of the bye week at home against Harvard and don’t have to travel again until a driveable match against Charleston on the weekend of April 5.

Still, that’s far from Pavlik’s mind.

“The three five-game matches that we’re coming off of coupled with the travel that we’ve been doing since before spring break,” Pavlik said. “We need to take a deep breath and let them be college students for a little bit.”

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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