Penn State extends win streak to seven with win over Charleston
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 10 Penn State extended its win streak to seven-straight matches after its 3-0 sweep in straight sets of Charleston (25-11, 25-20, 25-16) Saturday night at Rec Hall. Penn State has swept its last four opponents and remains undefeated in EIVA play.
“I thought this was a great culmination of the weekend," Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said. "It was a great culmination of five matches in eight days. I thought we started rolling last weekend during game three with our physicality and it just kept climbing. I thought our serve and pass game was as good as it’s been. I think more than anything else, we’re just a tough team to play against.”
“I think we’re starting to form a personality that, if we embrace the physical it of our serving and really keep working on it, we’re going to be putting ourselves in position to score points and score some easy ones.”
Jason Donorovich’s serve is one aspect of the game that has certainly put Penn State in position to score as of late. Donorovich’s recent tremendous serving success continued in this match, where he recorded a career-high six service aces besting his previous high of five that he posted Friday night.
“I think it’s just a mental thing right now. I’m excited to go back there and serve," Donorovich said. "I know my routine and I know what I’m doing mentally is going to bring me some success. It’s really just the fact that I love going back there and serving, and it’s really the one aspect of the game that I control all myself. So, I know what I need to fix if it’s not really clicking, and I think the past couple of games it’s really shown that it’s starting to click. I’m starting to get things down.”
As the Nittany Lions are beginning to enter the second half of their season, it would be enormous for the team if Donorovich can continue the tear that he’s on.
Brett Wildman led the team in kills on Saturday with nine, and Cal Fisher was next with six. Cole Bogner led the team in assists with 24.
Bogner was setting the rest of the team up for success, but he doesn’t take all the credit for himself.
“It’s super easy due to the passing. Our passers have done a great job throughout the year,” Bogner said. When I go to the hitters that are consistently hitting .400 .500 on the night, it makes my job super easy."
Penn State put up a dominant team effort all evening and is playing at an extremely high level as of late. Pavlik acknowledges that it’s the stuff behind the scenes that really puts them in such a great position to succeed.
“I think you can interchange a lot of these [guys] and you’re not going to see the results change much," Pavlik said. "I think that’s what’s really led us to this ability to put ourselves in situations where we can win these matches. I think it goes back to the training gym. These guys are pushing each other, and you don’t see the redshirts and their growth. I just like where we’re at and I think the results are speaking for the efforts that these guys are putting in on a day-to-day basis in the training gym.”
“Last year we were that young team, and that team that wasn’t that experienced but now we’ve got guys that know how to read this game, and the level that we’re playing at right now is super high,” Donorovich said.
Penn State concludes EIVA play for a little while, and next up will travel to Columbus to face Ohio State on Sunday, March 8. The Buckeyes swept the Nittany Lions earlier in the season, so with this newfound swagger, the Nittany Lions will perhaps be seeking some vengeance.
Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.