Despite having its third match in six days and missing senior Max Holt in the lineup with a leg injury, the No. 3 Penn State men's volleyball team rolled to a 3-0 (30-19, 30-19, 30-24) victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) Wednesday night at Rec Hall.
The Lions were led by junior Max Lipsitz, senior Jon Sherrick, who took Holt's spot in the lineup, and freshman Joe Sunder who had 13, 12 and 10 kills each.
The trio powered the Penn State attack with kill after kill that found little to no resistance from the Saint Francis defenders as the Lions cruised through the match, barely skipping a beat.
Coming into the match, coach Mark Pavlik was concerned about the Lions' energy level because of the previous weekend's road trip, concerns that were eased quite early on.
Penn State jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first set and never looked back as it cruised to an easy set victory.
"I don't want to say we've been lethargic, but whatever is closest to lethargic," Pavlik said. "I just liked the way the guys came out tonight. We jumped on them early and I thought we really executed for the most part through games one and two really well."
Penn State was also glad to be back in the familiar confines of Rec Hall following a road trip where the Lions went into the hostile environment of Loyola-Chicago's Alumni Hall, where Penn State dropped its first match of the season.
Following the road trip, Pavlik gave the Lions off from practice on Monday to allow the Lions to reboot and prepare for Saint Francis.
"That road trip is pretty long and especially after losing that match, we came in and we were really ready to do some work this week," Lipsitz said. "We knew we had some weaknesses. I think that loss really exposed what we needed to work on better than any practice would have anyways.
"After that weekend, I think coming back home and we had a day off and we had a pretty good practice [Tuesday], I think just having the time to get focused and prepare for home match is pretty beneficial."
One of those weaknesses was the Lions' defense. Against Loyola-Chicago the Lions had no answer for freshman Mike Bunting, who recorded 32 kills last Friday night.
The defense was no issue for the Lions on Wednesday. The Lions overpowered the Red Flash on the defensive end, as Penn State recorded 13 blocks on the night to Saint Francis' five.
"We had a lot of reps in practice," Sherrick said. "We stayed aggressive with it. I think against Loyola, cause they're a smaller team so we got a little passive with our hands. I think our pin blockers did a great job tonight, touching a lot of balls."