No matter what the sport, the playoffs always seem to see different players rise to the occasion.
On Thursday night for the Penn State men's volleyball team, those players were sophomore Jace Olsen and junior Tom Comfort.
The No. 8 Nittany Lions got off to a strong offensive start in the first set, putting Princeton on its heels early in the match and never looking back in the 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-22) EIVA semifinal victory.
Early on, it was clear that the two would be the ones to set the offensive tone in the match.
They both put up strong all-around offensive numbers in the first set. Olsen recorded five kills, with two errors on eight attempts for .375 hitting.
Comfort, who was making his fourth-straight start, had six kills with one error on 12 attempts for .417 hitting.
For the match, Comfort finished with 12 kills and one error on .500 hitting to lead the team. He also had two service aces.
"I just really wanted to go out and send a message," Comfort said. "Not anything individual, just make sure our team gets off to a good start."
Olsen finished the match with seven kills on .308 hitting and three service aces.
Both of them have been in and out of the starting lineup this year, but against Princeton, they were making up for lost time in what is essentially a new season.
Comfort and Olsen also made their presence felt defensively.
Olsen finished with seven digs and one solo block, while Comfort had two block assists to go with three digs.
For the game, the Penn State as a team had a very strong offensive night hitting .418 for the match. Redshirt senior Joe Sunder chipped in 11 kills on .625 hitting, while Aaron Russell had six kills on .500 hitting with three service aces.
The Lions will face George Mason in the championship match at 8 p.m. Saturday night.