No. 1 Penn State Sweeps IPFW

4/12/2008

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Fort Wayne, Ind. - Aided by 16.5 team blocks, the top-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team swept IPFW in three games (30-20, 30-27, 32-30) Saturday night in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Nittany Lions close out the regular season with a 26-1 record, equaling the 1997 Penn State squad who also recorded a 26-1 mark heading into the EIVA Championship.

Junior outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led the Lion offense with 17 kills as junior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) chipped in 13 put-aways. Junior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) added in nine and six kills, respectively, as both hit .385 or higher.

Senior setter Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) dished out 41 assists and added in three kills while freshman libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) picked up 12 digs, his eighth double-digit dig match of the season. Anderson and Holt both posted five digs while Murray notched four and junior outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.) added in four.

The Nittany Lions racked up 16.5 blocks in the contest, led by Holt with seven, Lipsitz with six, Sweitzer and Murray with five each and Stauffer with four. Holt also racked up three of the Lions' four service aces as Anderson added in the other.

C.J. Macias and Brock Ullrich each notched 11 kills for the Mastodons.

Penn State took the 10-7 lead to start the match on a triple block from Sweitzer, Anderson and Holt. Three blocks a five-point span - one from Lipsitz and Murray, one from Lipsitz and Sweitzer and a triple effort from Sweitzer, Lipsitz and Stauffer - pushed the Lions up 19-11. Back to back kills from Sweitzer and Anderson made it 25-16 and a solo Holt stuff pushed the score to 27-17 before a Holt kill and IPFW attack error ended the game, 30-20.

Game two remained close throughout as the Lions held the slim 15-13 lead on an Anderson kill. IPFW knotted the score at 15-15 on a kill and ace but Holt responded to put Penn State back on top. The teams traded scores and a Holt and Murray stuff gave the Lions the 18-16 advantage. But again the Mastodons fought back, this time claiming the 21-19 lead on a Jason Yhost kill and a Lion attack error. Two IPFW miscues tied the game at 21-21 and Penn State took the 23-21 lead on a Sweitzer kill and Lipsitz and Stauffer block. A Mastodon kill and Lion error again knotted the score at 23-23 and three ties ensued before Penn State went up 28-26 on an IPFW error and Sweitzer kill. The Mastodons responded with a kill of their own but Holt produced a kill and service ace to end the game, 30-27.

IPFW stormed out to the lead in the third game, going up 18-11. A Holt service ace helped halt the run and Penn State began to chip away at the hole with a block by Lipsitz, Murray and freshman Thomas Pereira (Brasilia, Brazil) coupled with a Sweitzer kill. Another Sweitzer kill brought the Lions within three at 21-18 but IPFW maintained the lead, going up 24-21 on a kill from Ullrich. Following a Penn State timeout, the Lions rattled off three of the next four points to pull within one at 25-24. The teams traded points twice before a Lipsitz kill tied the game at 27-27. The squads exchanged service errors and an Anderson kill gave the Lions match point at 29-28 but two Penn State attack errors put IPFW on top, 30-29. Out of a Nittany Lion timeout, a Lipsitz kill tied the game at 30-30 and consecutive Penn State blocks on Macias - one from Holt, Sweitzer and Anderson and another from Holt and Sweitzer - gave the Nittany Lions the game, 32-30.

As the top seed in the EIVA, Penn State earned a bye in the league quarterfinals and Rec Hall will once again host the EIVA Championship on Thursday and Saturday, April 24 and 26. The winner earns the league's automatic berth in the NCAA National Collegiate Championship Semifinal, held on the campus of UC Irvine on Thursday, May 1. The National Championship match will take place on Saturday, May 3.

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

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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