Men’s Volleyball Wins First Conference Game against Sacred Heart
Coming off a 3-0 victory over Loyola-Chicago Tuesday night, the Nittany Lions found themselves back home at Rec Hall for its first EIVA conference game of the season against the Sacred Heart Pioneers.
“Anytime you give a team a chance, or hope, all of a sudden they [Penn State] start to play a little bit better, and I think we saw that with Sacred Heart,” said Penn State coach Mark Pavlik.
Playing its third out of eight straight games at the friendly confines of Rec Hall, the 6th-ranked Penn State men’s volleyball team (5-1, 1-0 EIVA) defeated the Sacred Heart Pioneers (0-4, 0-1) 3-0.
The Nittany Lions began the match on an 8-3 run, with sophomore Aaron Russell spiking a ferocious kill for Penn State’s first point of the set. Pavlik’s squad never looked back in the first set as four kills from Aaron Russell and two kills from Tom Comfort led the Lions to an easy 25-12 win.
In the first set, Tom Comfort and Matt Seifert also had big kills for the Nittany Lions. Without eight assists from Taylor Hammond, however, the first set would not have been a breeze for Penn State.
“We controlled what we could control very well,” said Pavlik whose team played indoors on a snowy night in State College.
Noticeable adjustments were made in the second set for Sacred Heart as the Pioneers came out fighting to take a 5-3 lead. Enzo Mackenzie continued his stellar play for the Pioneers as he tallied 3 ferocious kills. Sacred Heart tied the score at 11, but the Peter and Aaron Russell brother tandem were too big at the net for the Pioneers to handle.
Sacred Heart mustered to score to 20-15, but 14 more assists from Taylor Hammond and five more kills from Comfort paced the Nittany Lions. A 100 kill percentage from Nick Turko balanced Penn State’s attack as they took the second set 25-18.
“We disserted our physically and really made them pretty predictable on what they were trying to do and going to do,” said Pavlik in regards to his team’s strong play at the net.
Both teams came out of the locker rooms with little impetus to start the third set. The set went back and forth as both teams traded points. It was not until the score was tied at 16 that Nick Goodell and Kyle Mars stepped up for the Nittany Lions with stellar play. Both Goodell and Mars tallied three kills apiece to help Penn State win the third and final set 25-23.
The Mike Anderson Player of the Game went to Penn State’s Taylor Hammond. The redshirt freshman finished with 31 assists and a kill.
“He makes decisions based on tactically what is the best matchup he can get for his hitters,” said Pavlik about Hammond. “He has a great mentality like most great setters.”
“I feel really comfortable. With the hitters I have, it makes it pretty easy for me,” Hammond said.
Seven kills apiece for Aaron Russell and Comfort led the Nittany Lions, followed by four kills from Peter Russell and Turko. Goodell, Mars and Kyle Hendries all finished with three kills to round out the Nittany Lions, who hit 78% from the court.
The Nittany Lions have now won 59 straight conference matches.
Penn State will return to action late tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. at the South Gym in Rec Hall where they will battle on the hardwood with Harvard.
Tyler Feldman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and business management. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Marketing
Currently, Feldman is an executive producer, reporter and anchor for the Centre County Report, as well as ComRadio’s senior sports director. He also is the host of the Penn State Coaches Show featuring Guy Gadowsky, which airs live from Lettermans on ESPN Radio 1450 and GoPSUSports.com every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Additionally, he was the first to report the hiring of Joe Moorhead as Penn State football’s new offensive coordinator on December 12, 2015.
He’s a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism within the College of Communications and enrolled in the Smeal College of Business.
Feldman, a Pittsburgh native, has broadcasted sporting events from a number of international and professional venues, including Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba, Madison Square Garden, CONSOL Energy Center, Wells Fargo Center, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, and EverBank Field.
Last spring, he traveled with the Penn State men’s volleyball team as their play-by-play man, announcing his very first NCAA tournament matches at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
He has gained valuable broadcasting and reporting experience interning and working at WTAJ-TV, MLB Network, GoPSUSports.com, 105.9 The X, 970 AM ESPN, Big Ten Network Student U, and State College’s ESPN Radio 1450.
Feldman has a strong passion for sports and dreams to become a sports anchor/reporter in a national market and/or a hockey play-by-play announcer.