Men’s Volleyball wins in straight sets over George Mason
The Penn State men’s volleyball team (3-8, 2-0) was clicking on all cylinders in their effort against the George Mason Patriots in a 3-0 (26-24, 26-24, 25-18) win at home on Saturday evening for their second win in the EIVA conference.
The Nittany Lions were powered by redshirt senior Nick Goodell and senior Aaron Russell. The two totaled 28 kills; Russell led the team with 17 kills and Goodell was dominant on the defensive side.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Callaway was strong in front with the team’s third-best seven kills in 11 total attempts. Redshirt freshman Aiden Albrecht added five kills to the stat sheet on eight attempts.
Redshirt junior Taylor Hammond created plenty of opportunities for Penn State totaling 41 assists in addition to a kill and three impressive digs. Redshirt senior Connor Curry racked up nine digs, ending his three-game streak with 10 digs or more.
PSU coach Mark Pavlik was certainly impressed with the passing game that his team created.
“Our passers did a great job,” said Pavlik. “We had some great swings in transition and they kept us in system a lot of the time, especially in the first set. The fact that they were helping set up good, quality swings was the key to our success.”
Penn State and George Mason began the first set battling for the lead. The Nittany Lions got out to a quick start with the help of Russell’s powerful swing, but Jack Wilson and the Patriots came back with answers. Penn State maintained a slim lead throughout most of the first set as there were only three lead changes.
Wilson, Paco Velez and Brian Negron produced 10 kills between the three of them which allowed George Mason to knot up the score 24-24 towards the end of the set.
Goodell stole the show in the first set tallying eight kills on 11 attempts. He and Russell kept a steady lead for the Nittany Lions and ultimately won them the set as Goodell’s kill put PSU up 25-24 and Russell’s block off of a swing by Radoslav Popov won the Lions the first set.
Goodell credited his early success to practice.
“We’ve been working on drills, especially this week, to close out sets and extend our lead. I’m glad to have contributed.”
PSU and Mason continued the trend of trading points in the second set as the theme of the set turned out to be service errors. The two teams combined for a total of 11 service errors in the second frame.
Russell went off for the Nittany Lions with seven kills on 12 attempts. He also tallied five digs.
The Penn State defense keyed in on Wilson, Negron and Velez as they only had a combined five kills during the set.
Goodell fell into a slump killing hitting only 25% in the second set.
Fittingly, Russell produced the winning kill after an impressive service ace from Hammond to put the Lions up 26-24.
The third set started off slow for Penn State as they fell behind to start out for the first time all match. The Lions turned it around quickly as George Mason had no answer for a front row quick that Penn State began to run with Calloway.
Attack errors crippled George Mason ultimately losing them the third set altogether.
Russell produced in a big way yet again with another seven kills on 15 attempts. Curry also had four key digs.
Curry summed up Penn State’s performance as hard fought.
“Volleyball is a game of hairs. We have been working on beating teams when we get to 20-20. It’s important in our game as a team.”
Mike D’Avella is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.