Fisher Leads No. 11 Penn State in Sweep of No. 13 Ohio State

Story posted January 29, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Rec Hall hosted a dominant affair on Friday night, as the No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions cruised through the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes, winning in straight sets.

With both teams coming into this match 1-1, experts expected a competitive match. But Penn State took advantage of Ohio State’s 18 attack errors and 19 service errors, which were the biggest factors in the Nittany Lions’ resounding victory.

From the first serve, the Nittany Lions looked to be in total control, and no one was more valuable than Cal Fisher. The junior from Pittsburgh racked up 12 points, including 10 kills to lead the team.

But Fisher wasn’t without help. Freshman Michael Valenzi and junior Brett Wildman contributed 8 1/2 points a piece, and five different Nittany Lions ended the night with at least one ace.

Overall, the Nittany Lions finished with six service aces, including two late in the final set from Fisher, which kept the Buckeyes on their heels and forced multiple errors.

On the other side of the ball, Penn State gained the edge in the blocking numbers, earning eight block assists and five total blocks, compared to only a pair of block assists and one block for Ohio State.

As for the Buckeyes, freshman Jacob Pasteur led the way in scoring with 14 points, but the next leading scorer only had 7 1/2, and the struggles didn’t stop on the offensive end.

Defensive, the Buckeyes were plagued by blown coverages and open spots, which the Nittany Lions feasted on down the stretch.

Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik liked what he saw from his squad.

“I was awfully pleased with the improvement we saw,” Pavlik said. “[The] offense [is] clicking at .481 in three games [and] only had five unforced errors.”

However, Pavlik noted that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

“With the physicality of serving, we’re in medium pass situation,” Pavlik said. “We’re in the middle of the court, we’re not at the net all the time… I think our middles can be quicker. Just like a golf swing, we’ve got to keep grooving it.”

Through the early stages of the season, Penn State looks to be one of the top teams in the natio with Fisher in particular lighting up the opposition with his southpaw serve, while Valenzi launches missiles towards the opposing defenses.

Despite the Nittany Lions’ hot 2-1 start, Ohio State will seek revenge Saturday night at 7 p.m., as the two teams face off in the second match of a back-to-back.

 

Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.