Penn State Men’s Volleyball Dominates Harvard for 14th Straight Win

Story posted March 26, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Dylan Price

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State won its 14th straight game of the season and advanced its home record to 10-0 as the good times just kept rolling for the Nittany Lions.

When asked about the success the team has had recently, coach Mark Pavlik said it’s not surprising.

“It’s nothing magical, it’s everything these guys do day in and day out,” Pavlik said. “It’s the blood, sweat and tears they pour in the practice gym.”

The No.2 Nittany Lions came out hot out of the gates fired up, as the team looked to continue its home dominance in front of a packed crowd.

Sam Marsh came out of the gates early with a kill and the Nittany Lions didn’t look back. Marsh finished the first set with two kills, and the match with seven. The Nittany Lions were incredibly efficient in the first set with a .524 hitting percentage and a 92.3 side-out percentage.

For the No. 2o Harvard Crimson, they continued to shoot themselves in the foot, and everytime they had a semblance of momentum, they sacrificed it. The Crimson finished the first set with a 45.8 side-out percentage and a .000 hitting percentage as a unit.

The Crimson turned it around slightly in the second set after dropping the first 25-12, hanging tough with the blue and white until the back half of the set when the Nittany Lions took off and put the set away 25-17.

In the third set, the Crimson fought back, forcing the Nittany Lions to work to finish them off, going into the Nittany Lion’s first and only timeout taken in the contest only down one, with the score at 20-19.

Then, an unlikely closer in junior Jack Shampine got two back-to-back kills to put the Crimson on the ropes before a service ace from senior Cole Bogner finished it off for the Nittany Lions to vault them to a win.

Consistent leaders Brett Wildman, Michael Valenzi and Cal Fisher combined for 24 kills in the match to help out Penn State’s offensive output in its three-set sweep.

The story of the day for the Crimson ended up being the exact same as it was in the first set. Despite raising their hitting percentage to .143 and side-out percentage to 54.8, the team consistently couldn’t overcome its own deficits in the contest and now fall to 8-9 on the season and 6-3 in the EIVA.

One key to the Nittany Lions’ success in this contest was their “block party” as the team posted eight blocks with Marsh totaling seven of those.

Pavlik accredited Marsh’s success on the evening, as well as recently, to maturation.

“It’s maturation, both physically and competitively with the game. I think the game has slowed down considerably for him. He looks so comfortable and confident now,” Pavlik said.

The Nittany Lions now sit at 18-3, with a 10-0 home record, and ranked second in the nation. Pavlik mentioned that the biggest credit to all of that, as well as their win in this game, is composure.

“People always talk about composure when things go against you,” Pavlik said. “I think composure is just as important when things are going well for you. It wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen, it was what we thought it would be.”

Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email