Penn State Men’s Volleyball Tops Mount Olive in Straight Sets

Story posted February 7, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions had little trouble dismissing Mount Olive as they beat the Trojans in straight sets. This marks the fifth straight victory for the Penn State men’s volleyball team and the fourth straight victory in straight sets.

Penn State entered the game having not ever dropped a set to Mount Olive. The Trojans were quite competitive throughout the match and made the Nittany Lions fight for every point.

Mount Olive are a very scrappy team and looked like Penn State were getting a little frustrated with the way the match was being played. Penn State really struggled from the service line as the Nittany Lions had 15 service errors.

The Trojans also struggled on the service line as they committed 16 service errors. Mount Olive seemed to be a little confused at times as they were not able to keep up with the more talented Penn State team.

Outside hitter Jalen Penrose has been a good player for the Nittany Lions this season, but he was held out of the game due to injury. Aiden Albrecht played in his place and did a good job, ending the match with eight kills and two and a half blocks.

While Albrecht only had a .238 hitting percentage, he was targeted the most out of any player and Mount Olive were keying in on him. Junior Spencer Sauter stepped up big with the absence of Penrose as he led the team with 10 kills.

Sauter was the player that Penn State went to when Mount Olive was starting to make a run. The Trojans consistently threatened the Nittany Lions, stringing three or four points together on numerous occasions.

This was apparent in the second and third set when Mount Olive were scoring consecutive points consistently. While Peyton Schirman had a poor night overall, he punished Penn State with numerous back row attacks in the second set.

Mike Mann also caused problems for the Nittany Lions as he had a hitting percentage over .500. While Mann only took nine swings, his swings were very timely and at times when Mount Olive needed him the most.

Sauter was Penn State’s answer to Mann and Schirman as he terrorized the Trojans on the defensive end with his spikes and blocks. Sauter was not the only player that experienced an increase in production as Lee Smith had a terrific match.

Smith is a player that does not normally have a big impact, but his services were needed with the loss of Penrose. He took full advantage of the opportunity as he recorded seven kills on only 10 swings.

Smith was the perfect complement to Sauter as both players were having great nights. Setters Taylor Hammond and Zack Parik had an easy job of setting up their teammates with the good showing by Smith.

The blocking of Matt Calaway caused Mount Olive problems, as he recorded five assisted blocks and the Trojans had a hitting percentage of .150. Low hitting percentages for opposing road teams as the Nittany Lions have held their last three opponents to a hitting percentage below .250 at home.

The Nittany Lions look to continue their great play with a road match against Harvard on Feb. 12.

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu.