No. 3 Penn State Downs Ball State, 3-1


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Muncie, Ind. - The third-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team defeated Ball State in four games (30-23, 28-30, 30-27, 34-32) Friday night in Muncie, Ind. The Nittany Lions improve to 5-0 for the year while the Cardinals fall to 1-5.

Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) provided a match-high and season-high 25 kills as one of four Penn State players with double-digit kills. Junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) recorded a season-best 15 kills on .500 hitting while junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) fell one kill shy of his career best mark with 14 as sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) provided 10 kills on .438 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .295 clip.

Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) directed the Lion offense with 59 assists and added in two kills while freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) upped his collegiate double-digs streak to five with a career-high 16 digs, two shy of the Penn State rally-scoring-era single-match record. Sweitzer tied his personal best with six digs as Murray and Anderson added five each and Lipsitz and junior outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) both contributed four digs. The Nittany Lions outdug the Cardinals 43-36 in the contest.

Each team recorded 11.5 team blocks, with Penn State led by Lipsitz with six, Holt with five and Sweitzer and Murray with four each while Stauffer and Anderson tallied two apiece. The Nittany Lions led the serving game, recording five aces as Lipsitz and Sweitzer provided two each and Anderson added one.

Patrick Durbin led Ball State with 20 kills and Matt McCarthy chipped in 16 while Marcus Imwalle and Todd Chamberlain tallied 13 each. Ethan Pheister dished out 59 assists and Chamberlain led the defense with seven digs. McCarthy led the blocking list with eight stuffs.

Penn State took the 10-5 lead in the first game on a Lipsitz kill and went ahead 19-13 aided by two more Lipsitz put-aways. Two Holt kills put the Nittany Lions ahead 23-16 and the teams traded points five times, with a Sweitzer giving Penn State the 28-22 lead before an Anderson kill and a Sweitzer and Lipsitz block ended the game, 30-23.

The second game remained close throughout, with Sweitzer and Anderson kills giving Penn State the slight 12-9 lead. Ball State fought back to tie the game at 14-14 on a block from Durbin and McCarthy and five ties ensued, with a Holt kill evening the score at 21-21. The Cardinals claimed the 23-21 lead on kills from Durbin and Imwalle before a Stauffer kill for the Lions brought Penn State within one at 23-22. The squads exchanged kills before a Lion block by Lipsitz and Sweitzer knotted the score at 24-24. A Ball State attack error was quickly followed by a Cardinal kill and a Penn State ball-handling error gave Ball State the 26-25 lead and forced a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, a solo Cardinal block by McCarthy extended the Ball State lead to 27-25 and the teams traded kills the rest of the way, with a Lion service error giving Ball State the game, 30-28.

The third game picked up where the second left off, with five ties before a Holt kill gave Penn State the 14-13 lead. The Lions maintained the slight advantage, going up 20-17 on a Holt and Anderson block before two Ball State kills from Durbin and a Lion attack error knotted the game at 20-20. Another block, this one by Holt and Murray, put Penn State ahead 23-21 but Ball State responded with two kills from McCarthy to even the score at 23-23. Two ties ensued and a Lipsitz kill and a block by Lipsitz and Sweitzer again put the Nittany Lions on top, 27-25. Out of a Ball State timeout, the teams traded points twice before and Anderson kill gave Penn State the game, 30-27.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to the early lead in the fourth game, going ahead 11-6 on kills from Anderson and Sweitzer before another Sweitzer kill and a Lipsitz service ace pushed the lead to 15-10. An Anderson kill made it 17-12 and a Stauffer and Lipsitz block put the Nittany Lions ahead 20-14. Out of a Ball State timeout, a Cardinal attack error and a Lipsitz kill extended the score to 22-14 but a Durbin kill sparked a 8-0 Ball State run to tie the score at 22-22. Two ties followed but back to back Holt kills gave Penn State the 27-25 advantage. Two Lion errors again tied the game at 27-27 and the teams traded kills and errors as a Stauffer kill gave Penn State match point at 30-29. A McCarthy kill tied the game and the teams traded points twice before a Sweitzer kill and a Ball State attack error gave Penn State the game, 34-32.

Penn State remains on the road, taking on No. 9 Ohio State on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7:00 p.m. at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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