Men’s Volleyball Returns Home to Sweep Harvard
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – It wasn’t the usual setting, but the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-6, 2-0) took care of the Harvard Crimson (1-7, 1-1) in straight sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-15) on Friday night inside south gym at Rec Hall.
The match was moved to south gym because of wrestling in the main gym, but the crowd was still raucous and provided a high energy level for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State won the first set after a late run to put Harvard away, but the second set really provided the turning point. Several self-inflicted wounds dug the Nittany Lions into an 8-3 hole before they called a timeout.
After the timeout, Penn State scored eight of the next nine points to retake the lead, and never looked back, pulling away in the second set and cruising all the way through the third set.
“Our offense got in rhythm,” Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said. “The passing and serving stayed where it had been. There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure put on us by Harvard, and it just kind of gave us a chance to catch our breath and play the game the way we needed to play it.”
Harvard was led by Eric Li, who had 10 kills on 21 attacks. The Crimson as a whole hit only .127, compared to .364 for the Nittany Lions. The front line for Penn State was active all night, picking up nine blocks and forcing 16 Harvard errors.
Three Nittany Lions tallied double-digit kills, with junior Jason Donorovich leading the way with 13 kills. Senior Matthew McLaren added 12 and freshman Brett Wildman had 11.
For Wildman, it was his first career start, but nothing changed for him in terms of his routine leading up to the match.
“Honestly, through practice the preparation was pretty much the same all week,” Wildman said. “I kind of just do whatever [Pavlik] tells me to do and it usually works out.”
Coming off a tough sweep last weekend on the west coast, Friday’s match allowed the Nittany Lions to settle back in and gain some perspective on how they’re playing.
“During the match, I just think about how I’m out there playing the game I love with my brothers,” Donorovich said. “That just makes every game so fun. You sometimes have to go back to that because it is just a game, and we’re out there having fun, doing what we can to help our teammates. That’s what I keep in the back of my head.”
The Nittany Lions are back in action tomorrow night against Sacred Heart. The match will be at 7 p.m. and played in south gym again.
Tom Shively is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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