Cole Bogner, CA

Penn State's Cole Bogner (6) during the match with St. Francis. The Nittany Lions opened EIVA play with a sweep of the Red Flash on February 4, 2021 in Rec Hall. Photo by Mark Selders

Penn State headed into conference championship weekend first taking on Saint Francis, a team it has faced two times before where they won both times.

The Nittany Lions took care of business against the Red Flash, winning the match in straight sets to advance to the EIVA Tournament final.

Saturday was just another test for the blue and white, who needed to take care of the ball in order to win and advance to Saturday’s finals, where it will face George Mason.

As coach Mark Pavlik talked about earlier this week, Penn State focused on doing what it has been doing all year and focused on itself.

The Nittany Lions took care of business and finished with a clean sweep of Sacred Heart going 25-16, 25-22 and 25-20.

Here are the biggest storylines from Penn State’s win.

Penn State capitalizes on offense

The offensive power of the blue and white has served it well so far this season and Saturday was no different. In a match that it needed to show up, it did.

The Nittany Lions dominated right by the net with 38 kills on the night, averaging 13 each set. This is what led to their domination and helped them to keep a comfortable cushion of points between them and Saint Francis.

Penn State also had few offensive errors finishing the night with only 9 service errors and 8 attack errors.

Defense plays hard the whole match

Especially in the first set when the game point was on the line, the blue and white was not willing to let the ball touch the ground unless it would be getting the point for it.

The energy and effort on the court was obvious offensively but especially defensively when the Nittany Lions came up big with multiple chases, saves and hustles to keep the ball alive.

Penn State just didn't allow Saint Francis many opportunities to score either. It was in control of the court, and when it was down, it came back.

Although blocks did not factor into this match very often, with only 8 total. When they did, they changed the energy and tide of the set even more in favor of the blue and white especially in the second set.

Kowal’s kills couldn't be stopped

Freshman outside hitter Michal Kowal could not be stopped offensively, behind the service line or defensively.

Kowal was a big part of the team effort in service aces with 1total on the night, as well as having a high amount of kills with 12 and a hitting percentage of .455.

Kowal also contributed on some match-determining points such as the match point in set two and multiple receptions to keep points alive.

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