Penn State Sweeps St. Francis
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – The Nittany Lions concluded a brutal stretch where they played seven games in 17 days on Sunday, defeating the St. Francis Red Flash in straight sets.
Penn State played a clean game limiting errors, making it hard for St. Francis to compete with the much bigger Penn State Lineup.
"We're playing the game well and we're putting ourselves in position to be in spots where we can win games," head coach Mark Pavlik said. "When you can have just seven hitting errors and only get blocked four times, I'll take four percent hitting errors like that."
After going toe to toe with powerhouse Ohio State on Friday the Nittany Lions were a team on a mission according to St. Francis head coach Mike Rumbaugh.
“We caught them at a bag time, they just had a tough loss to Ohio State and came out ready to play and out for a little bit of revenge I think,” Rumbaugh said.
All of Penn State’s hitters had consistent outings, with two reaching double-digit kills in Aiden Albrecht with 11 and Calvin Mende at 10. Matt McLaren also had a solid outing with eight kills on 20 swings without an error.
"We did a good job of staying engaged the entire way. We worked hard in transition and tried to get good swings,” Setter Luke Braswell said. “When everyone is hitting well like they were today my job is easy, just trying to keep their block off balance.”
Penn State was able to get out ahead early in the second and third sets, taking the pace to St. Francis.
“We had to bring all the action for the majority of the match tonight, a lot of times we would take a big swing, and they would receive then just tip it over which is a lot of their game,” Braswell said. “It was very different for us because a lot of teams we play take big heavy swings so we are sitting back defensively waiting for that but today we had to be ready near the net for the soft tips which was a change of pace for us.”
Jason Donorovich got the start in the middle for Penn State, over the powerful Jalen Penrose, and Donorovich delivered in both games on the weekend for Coach Pavlik.
“Jason’s works really hard in transition,” Pavlik said. “He makes himself very available, forcing the opposing middle to see where he is at and where Luke (Braswell) is at.”
The final point of the night came on a service error from St. Francis, which was a fitting end to the weekend for Penn State, who usually have more errors than opponents. Ohio State had almost twice as many errors at the service line in the match on Friday, and St. Francis also had 14 service errors to just 12 from Penn State.
The Nittany Lions will have a much needed week off before traveling to Sacred Heart and Harvard next weekend.
Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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