Penn State Sweeps Charleston in Three Sets to Extend Winning Streak to Five
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State men’s volleyball picked up their fifth consecutive win with a 3-0 sweep over Charleston Friday night at Rec Hall.
“Our poise and composure no matter who was on the court really was what kinda showed through,” Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said. “We certainly weren’t at our best, but we were good enough to win.”
Despite playing the role of the underdog, the Golden Eagles came out firing on all cylinders right from the get-go. Showing absolutely no signs of intimidation, Charleston kicked off its early upset bid on an 8-1 run, in which Senior Brandon Greenway led the way with two kills.
Penn State was not phased, though. The Nittany Lions quickly responded with a run of their own, knotting the score up at 12. Penn State weathered the storm multiple times, taking the first set by a score of 25-21 in what was a back and forth battle.
The second set was reminiscent of the first, with both teams failing to create any sort of separation from each other on the scoreboard for the most part. In fact, an Adriel Roberts kill tied the set up at 24-24.
After two chaotic sequences and a commendable effort by both teams, Penn State snuck by Charleston and took a commanding 2-0 lead, winning the second set 26-24.
The third set showcased the character of the Golden Eagles. Despite being down two sets to none and having seemingly nothing to play for but pride, Charleston did not give up. Like the first two sets, the Nittany Lions couldn’t seem to shake the Golden Eagles.
“It was a good effort compared to the first time we played them, and I think we let one slip away, honestly,” said Charleston head coach Mike Iandolo.
The largest lead of the set was just three, and just when it seemed like Charleston was going to mentally concede, the Golden Eagles took a 22-21 lead. An emphatic block by Penn State’s Brett Wildman would then shift the momentum once again.
After a failure to return a Penn State serve, the Nittany Lions went on to complete the sweep to win the third set 26-24.
“In crunch time, after 20, we didn’t make enough good and smart plays,” Iandolo said.
Although the disparity in sets won may not suggest it, the Golden Eagles made Penn State earn each and every point. The final score of the match was simply not indicative of how close the game really was.
“I think it was the experience, I think it was our serving,” Pavliv said when asked how Penn State was able to prevail at the end of each competitive set. “Our serving has a lot to do with how successful we can be.”
Matthew McLaren led Penn State with nine kills, and Lachlan Bray led the way for Charleston with 10. Cole Bogner and Diego Villafane led Penn State and Charleston, respectively, with 17 and 25 assists apiece.
The Nittany Lions improve to 13-12 on the season, whereas the Golden Eagles drop to 9-17.
Penn State will look to keep ride this momentum into Saturday, with an impending matchup against George Mason on the horizon. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Pasquale Tartaro is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.