February 18, 2012

#5 Penn State Upends Sacred Heart in Straight Sets

Fairfield, CT – The SHU Men's Volleyball team had some bright moments, including a back-and-forth second set, but the #5 Penn State Nittany Lions secured a 3-0 victory Saturday night inside the Pitt Center in front of 1,078 fans.  Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) continued his strong play in 2012 with a match high 13 kills while Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) posted six kills and seven digs.  Connor Curry and Joe Sunder both notched double-digit digs for a sharp Penn State defense.

#5 Penn State (10-1, 4-0 EIVA), the only remaining unbeaten team in the league, used a 7-2 spurt in the opening set to build a 14-7 edge.  The Nittany Lions hit a blistering .407 in the first set and were successful on 14-of-15 sideout opportunities.  PSU ended the first game, 25-15, as Ian Hendries and Aaron Russell combined for one of the squad's 7.5 total blocks.

Sacred Heart (4-9, 1-4 EIVA) took an early lead in the second set and held the slim margin through the middle stage of the game.  The cushion reached its largest point at three, 9-6, as the tandem of John Lutjen (Smithtown, NY) and Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) powered down a block.  Komlanc finished the match with four block assists while Lutjen, the SHU setter, dished out 23 total assists.  

SHU forced the Nittany Lions to call a timeout as Hunt hammered home a kill to make it 14-12.  Penn State answered he challenge from its coach and grabbed its first lead of the second set, 18-17, following a Pioneer attacking error.  PSU closed the set on a 7-2 run and captured the 25-20 victory with a kill from Sunder, who had a team high nine for the Nittany Lions. 

The Pioneers struggled offensively in the third set, recording just five kills while being forced into six errors.  SHU found themselves down, 11-4, early in the game following back-to-back kills from Russell and Sunder.  Hunt accounted for four of SHU's five kills of the set but Penn State ended the match, 3-0, and the set, 25-15 on a Tom Comfort service ace.

The Pioneers return to action this Tuesday at NJIT for a critical EIVA clash, game time is set for 7:00 pm.