LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The fourth-seeded Penn State men’s volleyball team (23-8) saw its season end in a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-22) loss to No. 1 seed BYU (26-4). This was Penn State’s 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA National Semifinals and its 29th overall.
Sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.), the Uvaldo Acosta EIVA Memorial Co-Player of the Year, led the Nittany Lions with 13 kills. Redshirt sophomore Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) was second on the squad with nine kills and junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) had eight. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) paced the offense with 28 assists and was one of three players on the team with five digs. Redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a match-high eight digs and senior Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) had two blocks.
Penn State hit .151 against the Cougars and totaled 31 kills, three aces, 29 digs and 2.0 team blocks. BYU registered a .345 hitting percentage with 40 kills, six aces, 31 digs and 12.5 team blocks.
Penn State opened the match taking a 3-1 lead, but the Cougars tied it up at 3-3. The teams went back and forth until a 4-0 BYU run pushed the Cougars ahead by five, 12-7. Penn State fought to within four on four occasions, but a 4-0 BYU run had the Nittany Lions trailing by seven, 20-13. Despite the deficit, Penn State didn’t back down. Aaron Russell and Goodell each pounded a kill, while Turko tallied an ace moving Penn State within five, 21-16. After a service error by each side, a kill and a block by the Cougars had BYU at set point, 24-17. The Nittany Lions kept pressing. After a service error by the Cougars, an Aaron Russell ace and two BYU attack errors had Penn State within three, 24-21. BYU called a timeout and claimed set one on a PSU service error, 25-21.
A BYU attack error and an Aaron Russell ace gave the Lions a 2-0 start in the second set. From there, neither team developed enough momentum to break away. Near the middle of the set, a PSU error and a Cougar ace gave BYU a 13-11 edge. Following a BYU timeout, Peter Russell put down a kill to bring the Lions within one, 13-12. However, a 4-1 BYU run increased the Cougar lead to four, 17-13. Penn State called a timeout, but BYU’s lead continued to grow with an ace and a block for a 20-13 advantage. A BYU service error and kills from Aaron Russell and redshirt junior Scott Kegerreis (Honeybrook, Pa.) helped Penn State narrow the gap to six, 21-15. The Nittany Lions tallied one final point before BYU closed out set two, 25-16.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time in set three jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Aaron Russell pounded two kills, while Peter Russell recorded one and teamed up with Hendries for two blocks. After a BYU timeout, the team traded points briefly before a 3-0 Cougar run had BYU within two, 9-7. Through the middle of the set, Penn State maintained at least a two-point lead until the Cougars pulled within one, 15-14. Kills from Aaron and Peter Russell and a BYU error gave the Lions some breathing room, 18-15, and forced a second BYU timeout. After an attack error, BYU ratted off three straight points to come within one, 19-18. Penn State called a timeout and Aaron Russell followed with a putdown for a two-point edge, 20-18. Soon after, BYU knotted the score at 20-20 with a kill and a block. Penn State regained the lead on a BYU service error, but back-to-back Cougar kill and an ace had the Lions falling behind, 23-21. Goodell put down one final kill for the Nittany Lions before BYU secured set three, 25-22.
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