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PSU men's volleyball falls to Princeton 3-1

UNIVERSITY PARK -- The Penn State men's volleyball team had one of its best offensive sets of the season to open the match against Princeton, but the Nittany Lions ultimately fell to the Tigers in four sets, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 20-25), in a battle of the top two seeds in the EIVA standings Friday night at Rec Hall.

Penn State drops to 7-8 on the season and 4-2 in conference play while Princeton improves its perfect EIVA record to 6-0 with an 8-7 mark overall.

HOW IT HAPPENED

First Set

The Nittany Lions took an early three-point edge on Jason Donorovich's kill, 6-3.

A George Huhmann kill pulled Princeton back within one at 11-10, but a Tigers attack error and a block assist by Luke Braswelland Donrovich rebuilt a three-point lead for PSU.

Princeton put together another run to tie the score 15-15, but Penn State responded again with four-straight points and never looked back.

Penn State scored its last three points via kills, capped off by Henrik Falck Lauten's point to close the set.

Penn State hit .684 as a team for the set with 15 kills on 17 attacks against just two errors. Princeton swung just .095 (9-7-21).

Set Score: Penn State 25-21

Match Score: Penn State 1-0

Second Set

A Falck Lauten swing assisted by Braswell put Penn State up 4-2 early on.

Penn State's largest lead of the set was three 14-11 and 16-13.

Behind Parker Dixon's serve, the Tigers scored four in a row to retake the lead 20-18 and caused Penn State to take a timeout.

Penn State pulled back within one at 24-23, but Princeton closed out the set on a block.

Set Score: Princeton 25-23

Match Score: Tied 1-1

Third Set

A McLaren kill tied the score at 6-6, but a service error by the Nittany Lions followed by a Princeton ace gave the Tigers a two-point edge.

Princeton scored four in a row to take a four-point lead at 14-10 followed by a Penn State timeout.

Princeton separated itself by at least three points until the Nittany Lions went on a five-point spurt of their own to crawl back within one at 23-22.

Back-to-back kills by Huhmann turned the tide for the Tigers and enabled them to take the set.

Set Score: Princeton 25-22

Match Score: Princeton leads 3-1

Fourth Set

Princeton went ahead 3-2 on another Huhmann swing and never relinquished its lead for the remainder of the set.

The Tigers slowly built their lead to as much as five at 15-10 before the Nittany Lions called timeout to regroup.

Penn State's best run came late in the set when trailing 20-15. The Nittany Lions had kills from McLaren and Donorovich and Donorovich along with Cole Bogner teamed up for a block to shrink the deficit to just two, 20-18.

Princeton had a reviewed play stand in its favor and proceeded to score five of the final seven points to close the match.

Set Score: Princeton 25-20

Match Score: Princeton Wins 3-1

HEAR IT FROM COACH

Head Coach Mark Pavlik

"Welcome to the new era of men's volleyball. Passing and serving is scoring more and more points than ever before. In set two, we had 12 kills and we held them to 5 and we ended up losing game two 25-23. It could be traced back to the passing and serving. I told these guys that it is easy to look at the score of the match and know that was the difference. With the way we passed and served this week in practice it is surprising."

"I am confident that we are going to bounce back quickly and do well tomorrow. This is not a team that does things by luck or happenstance. They work hard. You have to tip your hat to Princeton with the way they served and the way they passed."

STAT STANDOUTS

Matthew McLaren was named the Mike Anderson Man of the Match with a team-high 12 kills for the Nittany Lions. He also hit .304 (12-5-23) and while also coming up with a team-best eight digs and one block.

Henrik Falck Lauten was the other Nittany Lion with double-digit kills with 11 while hitting .280 (11-4-25).

Canyon Tuman led Penn State with six blocks with Luke Braswell close behind with five of his own.

Princeton's George Huhmann led all hitters with 18 kills for the match while teammate Greg Luck had an impressive outing as well with 17 kills at a .343 clip (17-5-35).

GAME NOTES

Penn State outhit the Tigers for the match .304 to .200 and held the edge in total digs 29-24 and blocks 22-16.

Princeton held a significant edge with 10 service aces to the Nittany Lions' one. Both teams combined for 43 service errors.

This was just the second loss the Nittany Lions have had this season when dropping the first set (7-2).

It was the first loss for Penn State when outhitting its opponent (6-1).

NEXT UP

The Nittany Lions host NJIT in Rec Hall's South Gym tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

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