No. 9 Penn State Sweeps Highlanders

NEWARK, N.J. — Penn State, ranked 9th in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II national coaches poll, swept NJIT 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-13) in Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association action Saturday night in the Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center.

Penn State, which hit .487 for the match, is now 14-3 overall and 8-1 in the EIVA, while the Highlanders stand 3-12 overall, 1-5 in the EIVA.

The Nittany Lions were led by sophomore Nick Goodell's match-high 12 kills followed by 11 from Aaron Russell.  Peter Russell hit an impressive .800 for the match on eight kills, 10 swings and no errors while adding eight digs.

Freshman setter Taylor Hammond piled up a match-high 41 assists and libero Connor Curry notched a match-high 10 digs for the visitors.

NJIT was paced by sophomore outside hitter Chris Kaepernick's team-high nine kills followed by senior Doug Battersby with seven kills.  Freshman middle Raphael Anthony added six kills and two total blocks for NJIT (one solo, one assist).

Setter Zak Robben posted 21 assists in two sets for NJIT and senior libero Brady Smith dug-up eight kills as Brad Thele and Robben had three digs apiece.

In the first set, the set was played close early on until Penn State went on a run pulling ahead of the Highlanders, 18-13, after three consecutive points resulting in an NJIT timeout. Out of the timeout, NJIT scored the next three points for an 18-16 sore and later pulled within one of the visitors, 20-19, on block by Kaepernick, resulting in a Penn State timeout.

The Nittany Lions scored the next point on a kill by Goodell and went ahead 22-19 on an NJIT attack error.  The Highlanders battled back scoring the next two points, closing the gap to within one once again, 22-21 on a kill by Thele but Penn State closed out the set on a 3-1 run for a 25-22 victory.

In second set, the Highlanders stayed close against with Penn State in the early stages, but fell behind 13-9, after four straight points by the Nittany Lions.  After a kill by Kaepernick, Penn State rallied off the next four points extending the lead to 17-10 after back-to-back kills by Goodell.  Penn State finished off the set with a 25-17 win led by seven kills from Goodell.

In the final set of the match, the Highlanders fell behind early, 10-4 and Penn State took its biggest lead of the set, 21-9, on a service error by the Highlanders.  Penn State cruised to a 25-13 victory scoring the final four points of the match.

NJIT will return to action on Friday, March 8 at 7pm when the Highlanders host George Mason.  Earlier in the season, George Mason blanked the Highlanders, 3-0 in Fairfax, Virginia.

 

Story courtesy of NJIT

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