Penn State Claims Home Win Over St. Francis
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Penn State men’s volleyball picked up their second consecutive win with a 3-0 sweep over St. Francis Tuesday night at Rec Hall.
“I thought our pass and serve game was as good as we’ve seen it over the past four weeks,” Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said. “We came out with a game plan and these guys did an outstanding job sticking to it.”
It was a slow start for each team, with both Penn State and St. Francis trading hitting errors early on. Penn State hit just .036 in the first set, a number that steadily increased throughout the match. St. Francis also struggled with a low hitting percentage early on.
Pavlik discussed the low hitting percentage earlier on in the match.
“If you dive into that first set and we were somewhere around .500 in our first swing side out,” Pavlik said. “But, our transition game was negative, so that dropped us down there.”
Following a back-and-forth first set that Penn State won, the Nittany Lions began to pull away in the second set. A brief St. Francis run led to a Penn State timeout and following that the Nittany Lions pulled away to win the second set.
The third set followed a similar path to the second, with Penn State jumping ahead early. St. Francis went on another brief run halted by a Penn State time out, and then the Nittany Lions pulled away for the set win and the sweep.
“We were in control,” Pavlik said. “It wasn’t as close as the score seemed to indicate.”
Penn State won the three sets by a score of 25-16, 25-21, and 25-21, respectively. The win moved Penn State to 10-12 overall and 6-2 in EIVA play. St. Francis dropped to 11-11 and 5-3 in EIVA play. It was a big win for the Nittany Lions as it catapulted them over St. Francis in the EIVA standings.
It was, also, a very impressive defensive effort on the night for Penn State.
“We held [Fisher] to .107,” Pavlik said. “He worked his way positive in the third game, and I think we held him negative for the first two. We did a great job with our block, no matter who was in front of him.”
The Nittany Lions hit .257 on the night, while St. Francis hit at a .122 clip. Calvin Mende led Penn State in hitting on the night at .545. For St. Francis, Christian Graziano led the way for them, hitting .500.
Back from an injury, Mende is beginning to feel like his old self again, ready to serve in whatever role he is needed in.
“Coming off the bench, I’m not trying to play conservative,” Mende said. “I kind of just knew what we needed at that moment.”
Matthew McLaren led Penn State with 10 kills, and Michael Fisher led the way for St. Francis with nine. Luke Braswell and BJ Blair led Penn State and St. Francis, respectively, with 16 and 23 assists apiece.
Penn State will return to action Friday night at Harvard, with the match set to begin at 7 p.m.
Jake Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jas7954@psu.