Penn State Men’s Volleyball Sweeps Rutgers-Newark
Coming off a 3-0 loss on the road to No. 3 UC Irvine April 13, the No. 14 Nittany Lions, now 20-7 (12-1), found themselves back home at Rec Hall in the South Gym against Rutgers-Newark, now 4-20 (0-12), on the evening of April 19.
“I thought this was a match that we handled the way we should have,” said Penn State coach Mark Pavlik after the game.
Playing the first of their last two games of the season at the friendly confines of South Gym in Rec Hall, the fourteenth-ranked Penn State men’s volleyball team defeated the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-20).
The Nittany Lions dominated the first set 25-12 in large part to a 92 hitting percentage. The young and inexperienced Rutgers-Newark squad had no chance, hitting only 45 percent.
The much taller Penn State team was led by Aaron Russell and Matt Seifert, both of whom paced the Nittany Lions in the first set with four kills a piece.
“We put ourself in great position to not let them score any points,” said Pavlik whose team played indoors on a rainy night in State College.
Rutgers-Newark, a team made up of eleven freshmen, one sophomore, and no upperclassmen, made a few adjustments in the second set, as freshman outside hitter Colin Ferguson tallied four kills on only six hits, but Penn State’s height and experience were just too much for the Scarlet Raiders to handle.
Tom Comfort got the job done in the second set for the Nittany Lions with two kills on two hits thanks in large part to eleven assists from Taylor Hammond. Rutgers-Newark had no answers and fell 25-16.
“I thought we took away a great deal of court from them,” said Pavlik in regards to his team’s strong play at the net.
Both teams came out of the locker rooms with little impetus to start the third set. The set went back and forth as both teams traded points. It was not until the score was 21-18 in favor of Penn State that Zack Parik and Ian Hendries stepped up for the Nittany Lions with stellar play. Parik totaled 10 assists and Hendries three kills on three swings to lead Penn State to a 25-20 third set victory.
With the EIVA playoffs just a week away, Pavlik said that the final two home games are being treated as tune ups to prepare for the post season.
“I wanted to make sure everyone is on board because you never know who we are going to need to next,” said Pavlik when asked why he rotated through nearly every player on the Penn State bench.
A big key to tonight’s 3-0 sweep was the fact that Pavlik instilled into his players to respect the opponent. After the match Aaron Russell’s post game quote was repeated by one of his younger, yet talented teammates in the press conference.
“The best way to show respect to a team like that is to just beat them up,” Matt Seifert said.
Penn State will return to action tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM at the South Gym in Rec Hall where they will battle on the hardwood with NJIT.
Tyler Feldman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and business management. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Marketing
Currently, Feldman is an executive producer, reporter and anchor for the Centre County Report, as well as ComRadio’s senior sports director. He also is the host of the Penn State Coaches Show featuring Guy Gadowsky, which airs live from Lettermans on ESPN Radio 1450 and GoPSUSports.com every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Additionally, he was the first to report the hiring of Joe Moorhead as Penn State football’s new offensive coordinator on December 12, 2015.
He’s a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism within the College of Communications and enrolled in the Smeal College of Business.
Feldman, a Pittsburgh native, has broadcasted sporting events from a number of international and professional venues, including Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba, Madison Square Garden, CONSOL Energy Center, Wells Fargo Center, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, and EverBank Field.
Last spring, he traveled with the Penn State men’s volleyball team as their play-by-play man, announcing his very first NCAA tournament matches at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
He has gained valuable broadcasting and reporting experience interning and working at WTAJ-TV, MLB Network, GoPSUSports.com, 105.9 The X, 970 AM ESPN, Big Ten Network Student U, and State College’s ESPN Radio 1450.
Feldman has a strong passion for sports and dreams to become a sports anchor/reporter in a national market and/or a hockey play-by-play announcer.