No. 7 Penn State Defeats George Mason, 3-0
FAIRFAX, Va. - Redshirt freshman outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) had 16 kills and sophomore libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) tied the school record with 18 digs as the seventh-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team swept George Mason (30-25, 34-32, 30-19) Saturday night in Fairfax, Va. The Nittany Lions improve to 23-3 and close out the EIVA schedule with a perfect 12-0 record, the 10th undefeated conference season under head coach Mark Pavlik.
In addition to Sunder's 16 kills on .444 hitting, senior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) contributed 15 kills, senior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) posted 12 kills on .579 hitting, junior outside hitter Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) notched 12 kills and junior middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) tallied 10 kills on .533 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .409 clip while limiting George Mason to hitting .194.
Redshirt freshman setter Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 58 assists as Del Valle led all players with a career-high-tying 18 digs, which again ties the rally-scoring-era school-record set by Gary Vogel against IPFW on Feb. 18, 2005. The overall single-match school digs record is 23, set by Tom Gingrich against Cal State Northridge on March 9, 1991. Del Valle also recorded 18 digs at Long Beach State on March 14, 2009.
The Nittany Lions recorded eight service aces against the Patriots, led by Holt with three, Sunder with two and one each from Sweitzer, Lipsitz and Price. George Mason claimed the blocking battle, 13.0 to 6.0. Lipsitz led the Lions with four stuffs as Sunder and Holt each recorded two.
Penn State jumped out early to start the match, taking the 7-1 lead behind kills from Sunder and Sweitzer along with a Lipsitz and Sunder block. A Sunder kill and ace along with a Holt put-away pushed the score to 11-4 and two Holt aces along with a block from Goas and Lipsitz gave Penn State the 17-6 advantage. George Mason fought back within four at 18-14 behind strong blocking, and the teams traded points before a Lipsitz ace put the Nittany Lions on top, 21-14. After two Patriot points off a block and a kill, a George Mason service error halted the run and a Holt kill and Sweitzer ace put Penn State on top 24-16. The Nittany Lions remained in control, going up 28-19 on a Holt kill and ace before a Lipsitz kill ended the game, 30-25.
The second stanza featured nine tie scores, with Penn State going up 12-10 on a Sweitzer kill. A George Mason triple block, ace and kill swung the momentum to the Patriots, giving them the 15-13 lead and George Mason remained on top, going up 23-16 on back to back Kyle Gramit service aces and 25-19 on a Luke Maloney kill. A Sunder put-away pulled Penn State within five at 25-20 and sparked a 3-0 run to pull the Lions within two at 25-22. Two Penn State errors gave George Mason the 27-22 advantage but again the Nittany Lions responded, scoring the next four points on two Sunder kills, a Holt put-away and a Patriot error, to trim the George Mason advantage to one at 27-26. The teams traded points twice, with a Price kill closing the gap to 29-28, and a Patriot hitting error knotted the score at 29-29. A Gramit kill put George Mason up 30-29 and Price put down a kill of his own to make it 30-30. The teams traded points twice more before a solo Holt block and a Sweitzer kill gave Penn State the 34-32 win.
The Nittany Lions used the momentum from the second game in the third stanza, taking the 12-7 lead on a Holt and Price block and a Holt kill. Two kills from Sunder and another from Sweitzer made it 17-9 and a Lipsitz and Sunder block pushed Penn State up 19-10. A Holt kill gave the Nittany Lions the 24-12 lead and a Price put-away made it 27-16 before a Sunder kill ended the game, 30-19.
Penn State remains on the road, facing Ball State and Ohio State on the road on April 17-18. The Nittany Lions have a bye in the EIVA Quarterfinals on April 25 and then host the EIVA Semifinals on Thursday, April 30. The EIVA Championship will be Saturday, May 2 at Rec Hall, with the winner earning an automatic berth in the NCAA National Collegiate Semifinals on Thursday, May 7 in Provo, Utah. The NCAA National Collegiate Championship is slated for Saturday, May 9 in Provo, Utah.
For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.
Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.