Penn State's Anderson To Forego Senior Year; Signs Professional Contract In Korea

7/1/2008

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7/1/2008 -UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's volleyball outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) has decided to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility and has signed a two-year professional contract with the Hyundai Capital Skywalkers of the Korean League.

"The decision was made after talking with my family, my Penn State teammates and some of the players on the U.S. National Team to learn about their experiences," said Anderson, whose contract in Seoul, South Korea, begins August 1. "It is the best option for me in terms of volleyball right now. I could have stayed at Penn State and furthered my game but I decided that going to Korea was what I needed to do. My decision is not at all a reflection on Penn State, the coaches, the players or the support staff. I love Penn State."

Last season, Anderson became the first player in Penn State men's volleyball history to be named the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player and the AVCA National Co-Player of the Year in the same season. He ends his career ranked 13th all-time on the Penn State career kills list with 1,212 and eighth all-time in career service aces with 82.

Anderson will be the only foreign player on the Skywalkers, as the Korean League limits the number of outside players to one, and his contract runs from August 1 to April 30. Anderson hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Pepperdine standout and current U.S. National Team member Sean Rooney, who was twice named the Most Valuable Player of the Korean League.

"Personally, I'm just going to miss being around Matty for his senior year," said Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik. "He knows that we support him and we know that leaving was a tough decision for him. This is a unique situation for the sport of volleyball and it certainly isn't an option that just anyone can take. Matty is an extraordinary talent and we're sad to see him go. I am most happy that he is planning on still earning his degree. We wish him the best and he'll always be a Nittany Lion."

Anderson led the Penn State squad to the 2008 NCAA National Championship over Pepperdine on May 3 in Irvine, Calif., and his 29 kills against the Waves gave him his 30th double-digit kill match of the season. For the NCAA Championship, Anderson recorded 59 kills, for an average of 7.38 kills per game, on .460 hitting. His 567 kills for the season also places him sixth all-time on the Penn State single-season kills list.

After the NCAA Championship, Anderson was selected as one of a group of up-and-coming men's players who traveled to Japan at the end of May to train with the Japanese men's national team and help it prepare for its Olympic qualifying tournament. Anderson was also a member of the young United States National Team that captured the gold medal at the Pan American Cup in June in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The U.S. finished 4-0 in the tournament with a four-game victory over Canada. Former Nittany Lions and current pro players Matt Proper (Spain) and Nate Meerstein (Portugal) were also members of the Pan Am Cup squad.

"Matt certainly has a bright future as the international level but the decision he made is something that he and his family came to," said U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon. "Leaving Penn State early certainly wasn't a decision that USA Volleyball was involved in. We support Matt but in men's volleyball, this is a one-of-a-kind situation. We still believe strongly that the college environment is one of the best ways to prepare U.S. college student-athletes for the international game. They not only gain experience with volleyball, but they gain experience with life. We think that balance is an important part of their continued success in the international volleyball arena. We wish Matt the best and look forward to having him in our gym in the future."

Penn State returns five starters from last season's National Championship team, including AVCA First Team All-American middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio), AVCA Second Team All-American middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) AVCA Second Team All-American libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico), First Team All-EIVA opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) and outside hitter Jay Stauffer (Columbia, Pa.), who ranked second on the team in digs last season.

Also eligible for the squad are redshirt freshman setter Edgardo González (San Juan, Puerto Rico), redshirt freshman outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.). González and Del Valle are members of the Puerto Rican Junior National Team while Sunder is a member of the United States Junior National Team and both squads are currently competing at the NORCECA Zone Championship in San Salvador, El Salvador. Price also has a wealth of international experience, as he was the starting opposite for the U.S. Junior National Team at the World Championship last summer in Morocco. The squad, which also included Anderson, Holt and Lipsitz, finished seventh in the world.

courtesy Penn State athletics

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