Nittany Lions cruise past Pioneers, win in straight sets
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 2 Penn State continued its winning ways on Saturday at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions took down the Sacred Heart Pioneers in straight sets, as the blue and white have been dominant at home.
Sacred Heart took the early lead with Ife Loverton’s block before Penn State responded to open up the game.
The teams went back-and-forth with Sacred Heart holding an edge over Penn State until multiple emphatic kills by the Nittany Lions put them back on top.
However, the Nittany Lions ran into trouble in the first set by hitting the ball out of bounds on multiple occasions.
Jack Shampine led the way early in the game with three kills for the blue and white.
The Pioneers tried to stop the momentum of Penn State by calling a timeout down 15-10 while only having one kill compared to the eleven on the Penn State side.
This didn’t work for them as after a potential fan interference controversy they would call their second timeout down 22-14.
The Nittany Lions clinched the first set after a Sam Marsh kill. Penn State wrapped up the first set with 18 kills which were more than quadruple Sacred Hearts’ four.
Brett Wildman got the second set rolling with a block to give the Nittany Lions a lead. Penn State came out firing on all cylinders with a 5-1 lead which caused Sacred Heart to call a timeout.
The Pioneers got back into it in the second set after a couple of errors on the Penn State side.
Wildman continued his dominance with kills that put the Nittany Lions up 11-5 and after a few more points for the blue and white, Sacred Heart was forced to call timeout with Penn State leading 14-6.
After the timeout, the Pioneers clawed their way back in the contest making a 19-16 contest and coach Mark Pavlik called a timeout.
Sacred Heart went on a 5-0 scoring run to make it 25-24 and create momentum for its side before Penn State tied it up.
The teams traded points until Jack Shampine and Canyon Tuman combined for a block to give the Nittany Lions the win in the second set 31-29.
Although Penn State has had a lot of success this campaign, it still has gone through some rough stretches in games.
“It's not all rainbows and sunsets, you gotta go through some storms,” Pavlik said. “I thought we weathered one in game two.”
Cole Bogner opened the third set off with a kill for the blue and white.
The Pioneers and Nittany Lions continued to trade points at the start of the set but, Penn State pulled away midway through the set taking a 12-8 advantage.
Sacred Heart didn’t go down without a fight taking a 17-16 lead which forced Pavlik to call a timeout to refocus his team.
The timeout worked to perfection as Nittany Lions came out of the timeout on fire with three straight points which led to them winning the set 25-20.
“These guys have gone through a year just looking ahead saying whose next and what do we have to do to be ready for,” Pavlik said.
Will Bantle also got his 600th dig of his career, something only ten Penn State players have done in program history.
James Morrison is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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