The Nittany Lions were in a five-point hole and facing defeat in their second game of the Penn State Fall Invitational when the team went on a six-point rally to preserve a victory and sweep all three of their opponents this past weekend.
The invitational featured Ohio State, Laval University from Quebec City and Russian State University for the Humanities from Moscow.
The Penn State men's volleyball team won its first match of the invitational 3-1 against Ohio State (25-14, 23-25, 25-17, 25-22) Thursday night.
"I think our blocking did a nice job of slowing things down," assistant coach Jay Hosack said. "We've been working hard on establishing that."
The second match against Laval University proved the biggest challenge for the team.
The Lions fell behind two sets to one, and in the fourth set made a comeback to win the set and go on to win the match in the fifth (22-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11).
"Serve wise, we hit a little bit of a slump," Hosack said. "Those are things with more reps in the gym, are going to be ironed out."
The team played Russia State in its final match of the invitational and ended with all cylinders firing. The Lions swept the match and won the last set with a score of 25-16 (25-18, 25-22. 25-16 ).
"Russia's a little bit of a slower offensive team, and we were used to a faster pace," said Hosack. "So it took a little while for us to adjust."
Even though the Nittany Lions won all three of their matches, the coaching staff felt some things need to be worked on before the season starts.
"There's some tempo issues in our offense," Hosack said. " There's also some passing issues. Passing is one of those skills that takes a long time to develop."
Penn State featured a balanced attack as a different player led the team in kills in each of the three matches.
"The improvement happened for sure, our guys just realized...they needed to take care of their side of the court," Hosack said.
The invitational also allowed the visiting teams to see some different competition.
"We're always searching for good competition," Laval head coach Pascal ClÃ©ment said in an email. "Our league in the Quebec Conference hasn't been at the level we need for national competition."
ClÃ©ment also noted his friendship with men's volleyball head coach Mark Pavlik for his reasons on traveling to Penn State.
Penn State's regular season schedule has not been released yet, but the season will officially start in January.