No. 9 Penn State returned to Rec Hall Friday night and defeated EIVA foe George Mason 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22) to move to 11-3 (5-1 EIVA) on the season.
Penn State took the first set by four points in a competitive affair that saw the Nittany Lions keep the lead for the duration of the opening set.
Senior Tom Comfort led all hitters with five kills in the opening set and finished with a team-high 18 kills.
“I had a few kills where I just put the ball in play, they were just going up to block and I guess you could call them a few lucky kills,” said Comfort.
Brothers Aaron and Peter Russell followed up Comfort’s effort with four and three kills in the first set, respectively.
Both Russell brothers logged double digits kills as Peter, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, had 15, while Aaron added 13 of his own.
“The rest of the team made us look good and it was just a total team effort tonight for sure,” said Peter Russell.
Penn State took the second set in similar fashion. The Russells and Comfort kept up their efforts as well, with Comfort logging five more kills.
George Mason found a way to pull out the third set behind strong play from senior Mark Jones who had six kills in the third set and finished with a game-high 21 for George Mason.
“Mark Jones went off tonight but you couldn’t tell because we were giving up points left and right by not scoring on the left side,” said George Mason head coach Fred Chao.
Junior Pat Sibley added five kills of his own in the third set victory for the Patriots.
The Lions had a scare in the third set as redshirt freshman Matt Seifert had to leave the game after diving for a ball.
Seifert who did not register a kill the entire set, was replaced by senior Ian Hendries who also failed to record a third set kill. Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said after the game that Seifert would be fine and is expected to play tomorrow night against Princeton.
The Nittany Lions were able to narrowly hold off the Patriots once again in the fourth, and ultimately final, set.
“I thought at the end of the match when it mattered most, our servers performed really well,” said Pavlik.
The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall Saturday for the second day of EIVA conference action when they take on Princeton.