The Penn State’s men’s volleyball team completed an impressive road trip this weekend, defeating No. 4 Stanford Friday and No. 12 Pacific on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions beat Pacific 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17) in Columbus, Ohio, making them 4-1 on the season.
Head coach Mark Pavlik said he was happy with how his team played on the long road trip, especially in terms of the progression of the team’s offense. Penn State recorded a season-high hitting percentage of .361 against Stanford but set a new season-high tonight against Pacific, hitting .391.
“Like I’ve said, the offense is going to continue to improve as the season goes on,” Pavlik said.
Pavlik inserted redshirt freshman outside hitter Nick Goodell and redshirt sophomore Peter Russell into the starting lineup, because junior Tom Comfort and sophomore Jace Olsen “needed a break” after the Stanford match.
His decision paid off.
Goodell led the team with 17 kills and a hitting percentage of .382 in the first start of his career. Russell wasn’t far behind with 15 kills and hitting .393.
According to Pavlik, this depth is the biggest strength of his team.
Junior middle hitter Nick Turko also had one of the best matches of his career, hitting an impressive .600 with 10 kills and just one error.
After dropping the first set to Pacific, Penn State bounced back to win the next three, mainly due to the consistency of its offense which at times this season has been lacking.
Even though Penn State suffered a surprising loss to Lewis last weekend, Pavlik is still satisfied with his team’s first month of the season, especially considering that every match has been away.
“I’m happy with the month of January that we’ve had, finishing 4-1 after three long, competitive road trips.”
Up next for the Lions is a date with Mount Olive next Friday at Rec Hall. Pavlik explained that he and his players are excited to play in front of the home crowd.
“We’re looking forward to getting back into Rec Hall with our fans and just being at home.”