Sunder and Goodell Lead Penn State over Princeton
Joe Sunder and Nick Goodell both racked up 10 kills apiece as the Penn State men’s volleyball team (11-1, 5-0 EIVA) cruised to a 3-0 win over Princeton (3-4, 2-2 EIVA) at Rec Hall Friday night.
The offense was firing on all cylinders for the Nittany Lions as they dominated in all offensive categories on the stat sheet. Every player but one who saw the hardwood registered a kill, leading to 46 on the night. Head coach Mark Pavlik raved after the game about his team’s play when the ball was on their side of the net.
“I thought we were really efficient at the net tonight,” said Pavlik. “The guys were really putting some solid swings on the ball and it showed on the stat sheet.”
It did indeed show on the stat sheet, as the Nittany Lions piled up a .462 hitting percentage against the Tigers. The man who played a monster role in setting up the swings was Edgardo Goas. He had a huge night, filling up the stat sheet with 2 kills on 2 attempts, 3 services aces, 5 digs and an astounding 37 assists.
"It's awesome," said Goas. "It's a lot of fun when guys like Nick [Goodell] are hitting .600."
Goodell continued to be dominant for the Lions. He did his part of the damage Friday night in only two sets of action.
“We’re really starting to click,” said Goodell. “You can see it as the season goes on, we’re really starting to get a feel for each other.”
Despite the lopsided stat lines, Princeton gave the Lions all they could handle at times. Junior middle blocker Michael Dye had himself a primetime performance at Rec Hall as he led all hitters with 12 kills. Princeton frequently looked to feed him the ball in the first set, but shied away from Dye in the second set. The Tigers tended to look more towards outside hitter Cody Kessel, who played well with eight kills, but couldn’t keep the Tigers close enough to make a run in the middle set.
The third and final set of the night featured a couple of bench players for Penn State, namely junior Tom Comfort who tallied five kills in his only action. Princeton had the score as close as 12-10, but it was all Lions after that
The Tigers did win the battle above the net with the Nittany Lions, as they registered eleven blocks to Penn State’s seven. Despite Penn State’s advantage height-wise, with Sunder at 6-foot-7 and middle hitter Aaron Russell at 6-foot-9, Pavlik was quick to point out that his team has a long way to go in the blocking department.
“While I thought we were efficient on the offensive side of the net, I was disappointed in our blocking," he said. "I thought we were trying to be too efficient there. We know we’ve got to get better at blocking by the time May comes.”
All three sets started out back and forth with Princeton forcing 11 tie scores throughout the three sets. But at about the midway point of each set, the Nittany Lions asserted themselves to build a sizeable lead in each game.
The serving of Penn State was instrumental in helping Penn State put Princeton away each set. The Lions accumulated seven serving aces, with Gaos leading the charge.
“I felt really good in warm-ups serving the ball and it carried over into the match tonight," Gaos said.
Princeton head coach Sam Shweisky was impressed not only with Penn State's aces, but with the pressure that serves by players like Sunder put on his team. He jokes that the best way to deal with Sunder would be to wait until he graduates.
Penn State also had a match Saturday against George Mason. Look for coverage of that match soon here at ComRadio.
Kyle Patterson is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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