No. 12 Penn State Continues Strong Campaign in Straight Sets Victory over George Mason

Story posted February 28, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Dominance has been the theme for this Nittany Lions squad in the 2020 campaign, and that theme continued on Saturday night, as the No. 10 men’s volleyball team dominated the No. 12 George Mason Patriots in straight sets to sweep the weekend series.

The two leaders of this Penn State victory were Cal Fisher and Brett Wildman, as both players finished with 11 kills each and combined for 13 digs in this back-and-forth affair.

While addressing the media after the match, Fisher kept it short and sweet when discussing his approach to another fantastic offensive performance after coming out sluggish in the opening moments.

“We kept the same approach and didn’t want to drop that first set,” Fisher said.

Canyon Tuman commented on the depth of this team as well.

“I think we have a great team, and we can throw so many guys out there,” Tuman said. “Obviously it makes it so much easier when you have guys like Brett and Cal ripping it. It’s a great feeling.”

As a team, Penn State finished with nine more kills than George Mason and committed two fewer attack errors, which unlocked this offense’s potential to explode like it did in Rec Hall on Saturday.

Besides Fisher and Wildman, there were solid performances across the board that supported the notion this is one of the most complete volleyball teams in the country. Michael Valenzi finished with four kills for the match. Tuman, meanwhile, was all over the court for Penn State, racking up seven kills and two service aces while helping on the defensive side with a pair of key blocks at the net.

On the back line, Cole Bogner provided a great spark by facilitating the offense for 33 assists; he also tallied two kills on two attempts.

After the game, head coach Mark Pavlik elaborated on the progress of his squad midway through this season.

“I like our athleticism,” Pavlik said. “I like how we play with that athleticism, and I love our competitive spirit.”

In the end, service errors severely hurt the Patriots and cost them opportunities to get back into this match. Although 15 service errors may seem minute, George Mason rarely led at all during each of the three sets, and the constant committing of service errors did not help the Patriots get momentum rolling offensively.

As for the road ahead, Penn State will remain in State College to host South Charleston whereas George Mason will head back to Fairfax, Virginia, to host NJIT for a back-to-back series.

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