Penn State will be experiencing plenty of emotions this weekend.
The Nittany Lions are down their starting libero and are in a position to move up in the EIVA standings, all while honoring their seniors who will compete one last time at Rec Hall.
Keeping focus and emotions in check for each of these priorities is a piece of cake for Penn State, according to coach Mark Pavlik.
“I think that’s one of the biggest myths in athletics is the term ‘rise to the occasion,’” Pavlik said. “I don’t think you try to focus on everything, I think we need to focus on what is ahead of us, and that is Charleston and my goal is that were just 1-0 after our next match.”
Pavlik and his team are not going to change their approach in matches, even if everything around them is trying to cause a distraction.
“I like what the Navy Seals do, and that’s to fall back on your training,” Pavlik said. “You don’t try to do more than you’re capable of doing, you don’t try and go out there and be someone you are not… but instead, you do what you’re trained to do and do it as best as you can.”
Friday’s 7 p.m. matchup against Charleston will determine a lot for Penn State, as it will face George Mason on Saturday in a game that can make all the difference in the outcome of Penn State’s EIVA season and where it will rank.
“Sure, we have Mason but if we don’t take care of business with Charleston, it creates a lot more pressure than we need,” Pavlik said.
Along with George Mason, senior night will take place Saturday for Penn State and will only boost the players’ performance being that the seniors have shaped the way of the game and season for the team as this year began.
“The senior leadership really asserted itself in the fall and has made sure everybody stays on the same page and in the same step, with here’s what we want our team to be about this year,” Pavlik said.
In Penn State’s four-game winning streak, the seniors, led by Matt McLaren, have more than made their mark.
The Nittany Lions have only dropped one of their last 12 sets played and McLaren has a total of 44 kills in that span.
As a leader of this team, McLaren is one of three seniors who has continued Penn State’s mentality.
“The upperclassmen have really made it a point to make sure we had a culture of which they can be proud of,” Pavlik said.