Penn State Men’s Volleyball Strong in the Kill Game for Three Sets vs. Merrimack

Story posted January 15, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Adrianna Gallucci

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Coming off of a 3-0 start to the season, the Penn State men’s volleyball team swept the Merrimack Warriors 3-0 in Rec Hall.

Penn State was coming off of a 3-0 sweep over Daemen University a day prior in the Rec Hall South Gym.

This is Merrimack’s inaugural season, which is led under Ray Lewis. Lewis coached the men’s and women’s volleyball teams at Central State University. The Merrimack team consists of five transfers and a young and promising program.

Coach Mark Pavlik said that he was “honored to be a part of [that] legacy” for Merrimack and noted that the “growth of men’s volleyball is seeing country-wide is going to be reflected by more and more matches that are going to take place between teams that have never played before.”

He complimented the Warriors and Lewis and “wished them all the best in their NEC conference.”

The Warriors played the Juniata Eagles on Jan. 13 and lost 3-0 in an exhibition match.

Pavlik noted that his players “controlled the tempo of the match,” complementing the serving and the Nittany Lions only making four hitting errors in the entire match.

Michael Valenzi, Cole Bogner, Michal Kowal, John Kerr, Owen Rose and Sam Marsh started the match for the Nittany Lions along with Ryan Merk as libero.

Penn State struck first in the first set with an ace from Bogner, but Merrimack made a steady climb to try to inch the lead away from Penn State. Penn State substituted Gabe Hartke, one of its serving specialists, in the 23rd point. The Nittany Lions won the first set on a hitting error by Merrimack’s Matthew Motes.

Merrimack started off with the lead in the second set after a serving error on Bogner, but the lead went back and forth between both teams. The Nittany Lions took the lead on a service error on Merrimack and a kill from their own Bogner and never looked back. The set ended on a hitting error on Merrimack.

Merrimack took the first point in the third set as well, but Penn State stole the lead on a kill from Jack Shampine. Cole Ignasak had his first kill at Rec Hall on the 19th point. Penn State won the third set and completed the three-set sweep for the victory.

Shampine and Bogner’s big nights gave Penn State a huge advantage with 14 combined kills in five sets played between the two.

The Nittany Lions will play Pepperdine and Stanford in the First Point Collegiate Challenge in Austin, Texas, then will return to Rec Hall to play Long Beach State on Jan. 25.

Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email