In front of the largest crowd the men's volleyball team has seen this year, the Nittany Lions aimed to remain hot in a nonconference match with Ohio State.
The No. 9 Buckeyes had other ideas, sending the crowd of more than 3,000 fans home in disappointment by sweeping Penn State on Saturday night (25-22, 25-20, 26-24).
The Nittany Lions received ample support from Aaron Russell (16 kills) and Tom Comfort (13 kills), but collectively the unit struggled, hitting only .173 with 24 errors.
Much Penn State's struggles were due to the unfamiliarity of the opponent's strengths. Penn State had faced a string of smaller, less physical teams which allowed the Lions to overpower them.
Ohio State used its size at the net to dominate, hitting a clean .333 on offense and stuffing the Penn State attack with 10 blocks.
"When you can be physical, do some things and overpower some teams that's going to help," Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson said.
Despite the losing effort, coach Mark Pavlik found a silver lining. The team experienced its first real adversity since its season opener against UCLA, giving Pavlik the opportunity to see how his team handles that.
"When you come out of a match bruised, battered, and bloody, you don't want that to happen again," Pavlik said. "We expect a roller coaster at points, so let's see how this team responds to that. I don't think I'm going to be disappointed. They'll pull themselves together."
The match concluded a season-long homestand, where the Lions finished 7-1. Penn State hits the road for more conference action, facing Harvard on Friday and Sacred Heart on Saturday.