Penn State Sweeps George Mason, Advances To NCAA National Semifinal

4/26/2008

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University Park, Pa. - The top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team earned its 20th overall and 10th consecutive EIVA Championship title Saturday night with a three-game sweep of No. 11 George Mason (30-24, 33-31, 30-23) at Rec Hall. With the win, the Nittany Lions advance to the NCAA National Semifinals, slated for Thursday in Irvine, Calif.

Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) was named the EIVA Championship Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the EIVA All-Tournament Team by junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio), senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.), freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) along with George Mason's Kyle Gramit and R.J. Goubeaux and NJIT's Leonardo Paludo.

Anderson led all players with 15 kills and junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) added in 10 kills. Holt and sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) chipped in nine and seven kills, respectively, while junior Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) notched four kills on six swings.

Murray directed the offense with 36 assists and Del Valle led all players with 10 digs as Murray and Sweitzer recorded six each and Stauffer posted five.

Anderson also topped the squad with five blocks as Holt posted three and Murray and Lipsitz notched two apiece. George Mason outblocked Penn State 12.0 to 7.5 for the match.

Sweitzer, Anderson, Stauffer, Murray and senior Travis Foltz (Westlake Village, Calif.) all provided one service ace for the Nittany Lions.

For George Mason, Kyle Gramit led the squad with 15 kills as Hudson Bathes notched seven.

The Patriots started out the match strong, going ahead 5-1 on kills from Goubeaux and Gramit, a Goubeaux block and a Gramit ace. But the Nittany Lions fought back to tie the game at 6-6 on aces from Sweitzer and Holt and two Holt kills. An Anderson kill put Penn State on top 11-9 and an Anderson and Holt block made it 16-12 but George Mason evened the score at 16-16 aided by a Lion attack error. A Stauffer solo block pushed the Lions ahead 19-18 and out of a Patriot timeout, Penn State rattled off the next five points to take the 24-18 lead. An Anderson kill made it 28-22 before a Patriot service error ended the game, 30-24.

The second game started off where the first one ended, with 17 ties and eight lead changes. Lion kills from Holt and Stauffer put Penn State up 7-6 and a Sweitzer kill knotted the game at 12-12. Penn State kills from Sweitzer and Anderson pushed the Lions ahead 20-17 and another Anderson kill made it 26-20. But following a George Mason timeout, a Lion service error and a Goubeaux ace sparked a five-point Patriot run to pull them within one at 27-26. Kills from Anderson and Sweitzer gave the Lions game-point at 29-26 but two Penn State attack errors and a George Mason block from Bates and McLaughlin tied the game at 29-29. The squads traded points twice and a Lipsitz kill knotted the score at 31-31. But a Patriot attack error and a Lion block from Lipsitz and Anderson ended the game, 33-31.

Penn State kills from Lipsitz and Anderson gave the Lions the 12-7 lead in the third game and a Sweitzer put-away pushed the advantage to 17-12, but again, George Mason fought back. Three blocks in four points pulled the Patriots within two at 17-15 but two George Mason errors gave Penn State the four-point cushion at 19-15. Two Sweitzer kills and another by Anderson made it 24-17 and another Anderson kill put Penn State up 28-19 before Anderson ended the game, 30-23, with a kill.

With the win, the Nittany Lions improve to 55-3 all-time in the EIVA Championship.

Selection information for the NCAA National Semifinals will be on Sunday, April 27 and will be announced on ESPNews at 1:30 p.m. ET. The NCAA National Semifinals are slated for 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, May 1 at Irvine, Calif. The NCAA National Championship match is Saturday, May 3 at 4:00 p.m. PT (7:00 p.m. ET).

For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.

Artile courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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