Fisher’s 13 Kills, 7 Aces Power Nittany Lions to 3-1 Victory over NJIT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State dominated its first match against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday, winning in four sets and improving to 6-1 overall.
Playing in the South Gym at Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions entered the matchup 45-1 all-time against NJIT. Their only loss to the Highlanders came back in 1998.
Junior Cal Fisher had himself a day, scoring major points from his powerful kills and aces. He ended the day with seven aces and 13 kills. Fisher has recorded double-digit kills in every game he has started this year and is currently ranked 17th in the nation in hitting percentage at 35.2%.
The Nittany Lions opened up the first set strongly, winning 25-17. But NJIT came out and responded, giving Penn State a wake-up call. The Highlanders stole the second set 25-21.
The third set featured a burst of energy from Penn State, as the Nittany Lions opened it with a 5-0 run. In this set, the Nittany Lions had seven aces—a category for which they are ranked fourth in the nation per set at 1.95.
NJIT regrouped for the fourth and ultimately final set, fighting hard to keep things close. Martin De Chavarria and Luca Berger had several electric kills that helped to provide energy to the Highlanders.
But in the end, a 4-0 run fueled by Fisher was the reason why Penn State won the fourth set. A string of service errors proved detrimental to NJIT and stymied their efforts to force a fifth set.
Penn State as a team dominated the attack. The Nittany Lions had a combined 12 aces versus NJIT’s single ace. They also had 51 kills as a team; Michal Kowal led the way with 14 and a hitting percentage of 57%.
This matchup featured immense offensive pressure from Penn State onto NJIT the entire time. Most of the sets came down to the Highlanders playing defense since the Nittany Lions continually displayed some impressive kills. Because of this, the Highlanders made 12 reception errors in their struggles to combat the Nittany Lions.
Penn State leads the EIVA after being picked to finish first in the EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll. NJIT was projected to finish second. If the Nittany Lions continue to play like they did today, the rest of the season should result in another EIVA championship.
Head coach Mark Pavlik continues to add to his sensational career at Penn State, now accumulating 590 career wins: the most of all active NCAA coaches. His team features a mixture of young and veteran talent that has been wildly impressive to start this season.
The Nittany Lions are set to play against NJIT again tomorrow at 3 p.m. Sunday’s game will take place in the Main Gym of Rec Hall.
Austin Groft is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email him at email@example.com.
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