Friday was junior outside hitter Peter Russell’s birthday, and the Maryland native record 15 kills and was named the Mike Anderson Player of the Match.
Tonight was little brother Aaron’s night to shine as the sophomore outside hitter set a career-high 22 kills helping No. 9 Penn State defeat Princeton in four sets, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25.
With the win, the Nittany Lions improved to 6-1 in the EIVA and 12-3 overall.
“I was looking at Taylor [Hammond] on the floor,” the younger Russell said. “He would come up to me and say ‘you’re getting this ball. Put it away for me.’ That’s an honor, but it’s also a big task, I guess. I was able to pull through. It was fun. I had fun competing.”
Aaron surpassed his career-high of 17 kills, which he set earlier this season against Hawaii, while hitting .395.
Senior Tom Comfort added 14 kills, and both Matt Seifert and Peter Russell recorded nine.
“He just kept hitting the same shot real affectively, and we couldn’t stop him,” Princeton coach Sam Shweisky said. “If I were him, I’d keep doing that too.”
Princeton, who outhit Penn State .234-.219, stuck with the Nittany Lions as the teams were tied 27 times in the first three sets. All 13 of the lead changes also came in the first three sets.
While the Tigers outhit Penn State, the Lions finished the match with a season-high 59 kills. Princeton recorded 47.
“When you get down to matches like this, it boils down to how many opportunities you have to get kills,” Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said. “That 12-kill difference between us and them, I think ,was really the difference in the match.”