UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1 seed Penn State men’s volleyball team (22-7) advanced to the EIVA Championship match with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-23) win against No. 4 seed Princeton (13-10) in the EIVA Semifinals. The Nittany Lions face No. 3 seed Harvard on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.
Tickets are available via phone at 1-800-NITTANY or at the Rec Hall ticket office prior to the match. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Live stats and a live stream (fee) will be available at GoPSUsports.com.
Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) had a match-high 21 kills on an impressive .704 hitting percentage. Redshirt sophomore Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) was second on the team with 14 kills with a .429 hitting percentage. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 39 assists, while Russell was unstoppable at the service line with four aces. Russell also led the team in digs with 12, while redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) wasn’t far behind with 11.
Penn State registered a .398 hitting percentage and totaled 47 kills, seven aces, 35 digs and 3.0 team blocks. Princeton hit .342 and posted 32 kills, 24 digs and 2.5 team blocks.
The Nittany Lions grabbed a 5-2 lead to start set one sending the Tigers to the bench for an early timeout. Penn State was unfazed and maintained at least a two-point edge through the middle of the set. With a 15-13 lead, kills from Goodell and Russell and a PSU ace helped the Lions move ahead by four, 18-14. Princeton used a second timeout and narrowed the gap to two, 19-17. Penn State called a timeout and junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) followed with a kill. After two points by Princeton, kills from Goodell and Aaron Russell had the Lions approaching set point, 23-19. The Tigers pounded one final kill before Penn State claimed set one, 25-20.
The second set was close at the start with Princeton trying to take control with a slim 3-2 lead. After tying it up at 3-3, the score tied twice more before two Nittany Lion putdowns gave PSU a two-point lead, 7-5. After four straight service errors, an ace from Goodell pushed the Lions ahead by three, 10-7, and sent Princeton to the bench. Princeton kept it close, falling behind by nor more than three through the midpoint of the frame. However, soon after a 3-1 PSU run increased the Lion lead to four, 19-15. Princeton used a second timeout, but it failed to slow the Lions. Penn State used a 5-2 run to reach set point, 24-17, before a dual block from Peter Russell and senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) closed out set two for PSU, 25-17.
Penn State leapt out to a 6-3 lead in the third stanza. Following a Princeton timeout, the Tigers used a 4-1 run to narrow the gap to two, 8-6. Penn State used a timeout and managed to maintain control to eventually use a 3-1 run to take a five-point lead, 15-10. After another Princeton timeout, the Tigers embarked on an 8-2 run to take the lead, 18-17. Penn State called a timeout, but Princeton answered with a block to take a two-point advantage, 19-17. However, one kill from Peter Russell and two from Goodell pushed Penn State back into the lead, 20-19. Princeton tied it up with a kill, 20-20. The teams battled back and forth with the score tying three more times. At 23-23, Aaron Russell put down a kill to make it match point, 24-23. He headed back to the service line and notched his fourth ace of the match for a 25-23 third set triumph.
Should Penn State defeat Harvard, the Nittany Lions advance 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