UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 14th-ranked Penn State men’s volleyball team won the EIVA regular season title and earned the No. 1 seed to the EIVA Championship. The Nittany Lions host No. 4 seed Princeton on Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the second semifinal match. No. 2 seed George Mason and No. 3 seed Harvard meet in the earlier semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 1-800-NITTANY or prior to the event at the Rec Hall Ticket Office. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth and groups.
Nittany Lion Preview
Penn State concluded regular season play with 3-0 sweeps of EIVA foes Rutgers-Newark and NJIT on April 19-20. Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the Lions with 3.40 kills per set, while junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) tallied 3.25 kills per set. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 11.60 assists per set and Aaron Russell had a team-best 0.80 aces per set. Aaron Russell was also Penn State’s top defensive player with 3.80 digs per set and redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) was second on the team with 1.83 digs per set. Senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) was a wall at the net with 1.75 blocks per set.
Against Rutgers-Newark and NJIT Penn State hit .414 and averaged 13.50 kills, 12.33 assists, 1.83 aces, 8.50 digs per set and 2.67 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. Princeton
Penn State owns a 48-2 all-time record against the Tigers. The two squads have met twice this season so far with Penn State winning both matches. The Tigers took the Lions to four sets on Feb. 23 with Penn State winning, 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25). The Nittany Lions again defeated the Tigers on March 29 on the road, 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20).
Scouting the Tigers
The Tigers head into the postseason with a 13-9 overall record. Princeton earned the No. 4 seed to the tournament after finishing the EIVA schedule with a 9-5 record. The Tigers won three of the last four matches, closing out the regular season with a 3-0 setback to George Mason.
Princeton boasts three All-EIVA honors, including First Team picks Cody Kessel and Pat Schwagler and Second Team honoree Michael Dye. Schwagler leads the team offensively (3.70 kps), while Davis Waddell guides the offense (10.05 aps). Tony Ensbury is Princeton’s top back row player (2.05 dps) and Will Siroky leads the Tigers at the net (1.06 bps).
Penn State vs. possible opponents in the EIVA Championship
Penn State vs. Harvard
Penn State owns a 31-1 record against NJIT. The Nittany Lions split their two earlier meetings with the Crimson. On Jan. 26, Penn State edged Harvard for a 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 16-25, 15-6) victory in Rec Hall’s South Gym. However, the Crimson swept the Lions in Cambridge, Maa. on Feb. 15, 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-23).
Penn State vs. George Mason
The Nittany Lions are 92-14 all-time against the Patriots. Should the two teams meet in the EIVA Championship, it will mark the third matchup this season. Penn State hosted George Mason on Feb. 22 and earned a 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22) victory. The Nittany Lions came away with a 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 19-25, 27-25, 15-10) win on March 30.
Should Penn State defeat Princeton, the Nittany Lions will face the winner of the Harvard/George Mason match on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at Rec Hall. The winner advances to the 2013 NCAA National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship hosted by UCLA on May 2 & 4.
For more information on the Penn State men’s volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men’s volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.
Story courtesy of Penn State