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No. 9 Penn State Men’s Volleyball Dominates Charleston 3-1

No. 9 Penn State men’s volleyball (18-6, 7-0 EIVA) defeated Charleston (11-13, 2-5 EIVA) 3-1 on the road Friday night.  

It was business as usual for the Nittany Lions. After dropping the first set, Penn State won three straight, and John Kerr led the way with 17 kills on 32 attacks, two aces, and recorded 21 total points. Penn State also handled the Golden Eagles from the service line with nine aces to three.

How It Happened

Charleston started this EIVA matchup hot. Ras Jesse Delancy started things off with a kill and two Penn State errors made it 3-0 in favor of the Golden Eagles. Will Kuhns got the Nittany Lions on the board, but Charleston scored three more off of a Michael Valenzi error and a Delancy ace and kill to make it 6-1.

Delancy’s service error ended the run until Max Nissen notched a kill for Charleston. Penn State brought the set within one with a 6-1 run that consisted of a block and back-to-back aces by Michael Schwob and three-straight kills by Kerr. Charleston ended Penn State’s large run with a 3-0 run of its own to make 11-8 for the Golden Eagles.

The Nittany Lions scored off a Nissen service error and an Owen Rose ace, but Charleston matched off a Rose service error and a Garret Schnitker kill. Both teams split the next six scores until Penn State scored three straight off of kills by Kuhns, and a Rose and Nissen attack errors tied the set at 16-16.

Two Schnitker kills and a Kuhns service error made it a 3-1 run for Charleston and forced Mark Pavlik to use his first timeout down 19-17. Delancy recorded a kill out of the break, but a Nissen service error canceled out the score. Delancy’s kill and a block by Delancy, Cole Duncanson, and Schnitker forced Penn State to use its final timeout of the set down 22-18.

Toby Ezeonu tallied his first kill of the match out of the break and Ezeonu and Valenzi teamed up for the block to cut the lead to two. Delancy’s kill extended the lead, but an Ezeonu kill and a Valenzi ace made it 23-22 for the Golden Eagles and forced them to use a timeout. Delancy’s sixth kill of the set put Charleston at match point, but Kerr’s kill forced the Golden Eagles to use their final timeout of the set.

Charleston took the first set 25-23 off a Schnitker kill.

Penn State woke up at the start of the second set. Valenzi and Ezeonu teamed up for a block, followed by an Ezeonu kill, and a Delancy attack error to make it 3-1. A Delancy block and a Kerr attack error tied the set, but Penn State went on a 3-0 run to make it 6-3.

The run consisted of a Delancy service error, a Kerr kill, and a Kuhns kill, but the run was stalled due to Luke Reynolds’ timeout. Ezeonu committed a service error out of the break, but the Nittany Lions scored four straight to force Charleston to use its final timeout of the second set as it trailed 10-4.

The Penn State run consisted of kills from Valenzi and Kerr, a block by Rose and Kerr, and a Schwob ace. Jake Couzens recorded his first kill of the night after the timeout. Kerr’s kill and Nissen’s attack error extended Penn State’s lead to seven.

Nissen’s kill sparked a 3-1 run for the Golden Eagles. The run included kills by Couzens and Delancy. An Ezeonu and Kerr block and Delancy’s attack error extended the lead back to seven at 15-8.

Schnitker, Duncanson, and Felipe Mendes combined for a block, but Ezeonu and Valenzi did the same for Penn State a score later. Schnitker’s kill and two errors and a kill by Ezeonu cut the lead to five, but two Charleston errors and kills by Rose and Kerr made it a 4-1 run for the Nittany Lions. Schnitker ended the run with a kill until Kuhns came back with a kill of his own to make it 22-14 Penn State.

It was all Penn State the rest of the way as the Nittany Lions took the second set 25-16 off of Valenzi’s kill, Schnitker’s attack error, and Kerr’s ace.

Charleston started the third set with a 3-1 lead off of Kuhn’s and Kerr’s attack errors and Delancy’s kill. Penn State came back with a 3-1 run of its own with kills from Kuhns and Rose and an attack error on Couzens.

Schwob committed a service error, but Penn State went on another run — a 4-1 run that consisted of two kills from Kerr, a kill from Valenzi, and a Schnitker attack error to give Penn State the 8-6 lead. Charleston tied the set at 8-8 with a kill from Delancy and an attack error on Valenzi.

Penn State extended its lead to two again off of a Kerr kill and ace. Kerr’s service error, Schnitker’s kill, and Duncanson and Nissen’s block tied the set at 11-11. Penn State extended its lead to three off of a Delancy ball-handling error, a Kerr kill, and an Ezeonu ace.

The Golden Eagles used a timeout and both teams exchanged the first four scores out of the break until Charleston went on a 5-2 run to tie the set at 18-18. However, errors on Schnitker and Paul Stommel made it 20-18 and forced Reynolds to use his final timeout of the set.

Kuhn’s kill, Valenzi’s error, and Delancy’s error made it 22-19 for Penn State. Nissen notched a kill, but Kuhns’s kill and Rose and Kerr’s block put the Nittany Lions within one of the set. Schwob’s service error kept Charleston alive, but Kerr’s kill captured the third set 25-21 in favor of Penn State.

The fourth set got underway with the teams exchanging the first 10 scores to start things at 5-5. The back-and-forth play continued until Charleston scored consecutive kills from Mendez and Couzens. The back-and-forth play continued again as both teams exchanged the next eight scores to make it 13-11 in favor of the Golden Eagles.

There was more back-and-forth play until Penn State broke the monotony with a 3-0 run off of two Charleston errors and a Kerr kill to give the Nittany Lions their first lead since 5-4 earlier this set. The Golden Eagles called a timeout and Ezeonu committed a service error out of the break.

Rose’s kill gave Penn State the lead again at 19-18, but Schnitker tied it back up for Charleston. Penn State started to close the match with a 3-1 run that consisted of an error on Ian Vazquez, a kill by Kerr, and an ace by Rose. Schnitker struck back for the Golden Eagles, but Ezeonu matched the score with a kill.

Kerr’s service error made it 23-22 for Penn State until Ezeonu tallied another kill to force a Charleston timeout. Kerr ended the final set with a kill to give Penn State the 25-22 set victory.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s domination over Charleston continues. The Nittany Lions have yet to lose to the Golden Eagles in 18 matches dating back to 2016 when Charleston joined the EIVA and have only lost three sets in that time, including the one tonight.  
  • Penn State is getting hot at the right time. The Nittany Lions are on a five-game winning streak, including three conference wins, with only three games remaining before the EIVA Tournament.
  • Ras Jesse Delancy carried Charleston all night. Despite the loss, he ended the match with 15 kills, one ace, 17.5 total points, on .333 hitting.

What’s Next?

Penn State will stay on the road against Charleston at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. The game will be streamed on MECTV.  

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About the Author

Mitch 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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