No. 8 Penn State Sweeps Sacred Heart Again, Coach Pavlik Captures 600th Career Victory
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “Let’s do it for Pav” was the mindset for today, as No. 8 Penn State continued its winning ways, sweeping Sacred Heart and pushing its win streak to double digits. The Nittany Lions now sit with a record of 16-2, while the Pioneers remain winless at 0-14.
Head coach Mark Pavlik became the fifth men’s volleyball coach ever to notch 600 wins, though he wanted to talk about his team more than his accomplishment.
“This particular group of guys I really enjoy being in the gym with and watching them play,” Pavlik said. “These are 20 of the finest young men you want to be around.”
“Coach Pavlik has done so much for us that, as long as we can give back to him, we are so grateful for that,” junior Sam Marsh said.
As for the game, the Nittany Lions never trailed in this one, as they won the first set 25-12, the second set 25-17, and the third 25-18.
Sophomore Jack Shampine, who played in just three games before Saturday’s matchup, was dominant on the court, as he finished the match with a game-high eight kills and 10 points.
“I think he is getting more and more confident with his swing, and the thing I liked about him was, defensively, he was where he needed to be,” Pavlik said about Shampine.
The Nittany Lions continued to miss some of their key players, such as AVCA National Player of the Week Cal Fisher and Michael Valenzi, who continues to heal after rolling his ankle Friday in warmups.
Despite missing these guys, it did not seem to matter, as everyone played their role and the Nittany Lions continued to roll.
“What makes this weekend special is that we continued to be able to play well night one and reach that same level the next day with guys that haven’t had a significant amount of time on the court,” Pavlik said.
Junior Brett Wildman, who finished Friday’s game with 17.5 points and 17 kills, was solid again Saturday, as he racked up seven kills and a game-high 11.5 points.
Leading the way defensively for the Nittany Lions was sophomore Tim Herget. Herget finished the game with six digs and a block. He is also one of the more versatile players on the team, getting the start on the outside instead of the interior.
“Pav tells me often that I am a swiss army knife, but I am just really grateful to be out here playing and to compete,” Herget said.
The Nittany Lions benefited from 21 attack errors and nine service errors that the Pioneers committed.
Sacred Heart could not generate any offense the entire game, as it hit -.041 overall. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions hit .351, and that was due to the play of Cole Bogner and Will Bantle, who combined for 24 assists.
Penn State will look to continue its winning streak when it takes on George Mason on Friday, April 2.
Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.