Penn State men’s volleyball advances in EIVA

Story posted April 24, 2014 in CommRadio by Ryan Stevens

Junior outside hitter Nick Goodell whispered to head coach Mark Pavlik after the game, “you get one warning.”

What he was referring to was the minor scuffle that ensued during the third set, requiring the side official to call both teams’ captains, to tell them to calm down the banter between teams.

“That’s what’s going to happen when you have two emotional teams that want to win,” senior outside hitter Peter Russell said.

The EIVA top seed needed a warning to wake up against an upset-minded George Mason team that wasn’t backing down from any challenge.

“We knew coming in that they were going to be a handful,” Pavlik said. “It was a fun match to play in and you saw the teams to tone it down, but it was a competitive match.”

George Mason stole the first set 27-25, but dropped the next three sets 25-12, 25-18 and 25-22 respectively.

“The start was frustrating for everyone,” Goodell said.

“They did a couple of things really well that they didn’t do the last two times,” Pavlik added. “We were mostly getting in our own way. The toughest match to win is the one you’re suppose to.”

Penn State (23-6) was led by 49 kills from Goodell, junior Aaron Russell and senior Peter Russell.

In a game that featured 41 different ties, the Nittany Lions realized it was going to be easier if they got back to playing their style of volleyball.

“Once we got out of our own way and settled down I had great faith these guys would settle into their own game,” Pavlik said.

“We came to life and started playing our volleyball (in the second set),” Russell added.

It was the first time Penn State played since six of the Nittany Lions were awarded All-EIVA honors, including EIVA Player of the Year Aaron Russell.

The competitive banter between teams didn’t seem to alter Penn State during the third set, when momentum was starting to shift toward their way.

“Some can take it and run with it and some will take it and explode,” Goodell said. “I feed off of it. I love that intensity and that’s how the game should be played.”

Freshman outside hitter Radoslav Popov and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Paco Velez paced George Mason (14-14) with 15 and 12 kills, respectively.

Penn State advanced to take on Princeton in the EIVA final on Saturday at Rec Hall. The game will start at 7:00 p.m. and can be heard in full on ComRadio.

“It’s going to be a great final,” Pavlik said.

Ryan Stevens is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

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Ryan Stevens

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english.  He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.

During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.

Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.

Ryan is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He can be reached via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and following him on twitter @RyanAStevens.