No. 13 Penn State M. Volleyball Splits Opening Series Against No. 2 UCLA and USC
Penn State started out on a rough note by facing No. 2 ranked UCLA on Friday evening and consequently losing in three straight sets.
Chris Nugent (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Luke Braswell (Manchester, Pa.) gave strong performances to keep the game tight however, with Nugent adding 10 kills and Braswell creating 27 assists against UCLA.
The first set was 25-18, but the second set gave UCLA a run for its money, with the Nittany Lions offering up 22 points to counter the 25 created by the Bruins. The third and final set dropped by the Lions was 17-25.
Saturday evening gave a much more positive result for the Nittany Lions, who secured their first win of the season against USC.
In a game Head Coach Mark Pavlik described as gritty, the Nittany Lions defeated the Trojans 3-2 in a five set game.
Despite losing the first set of the game 32-30, Penn State came back to the second set 25-14.
“We did really well,” said Braswell. “One of our seniors… said ‘we have to find our identity,’ and I think we did that.”
Calvin Mende (Redlands, Calif.) helped the Lions tremendously by contributing a career-high 25 kills and .525 hitting percentage.
After dropping the third set to USC, 25-21, Penn State wasted no time in dominating the rest of the game out on the court.
The fourth set was a tight 25-23 in the Lions’ favor, and the fifth set sealed the fate of the victorious Blue and White with a solid 15-11 win over the Trojans.
Men’s volleyball heads to Indiana next weekend to take on Ball State and IPFW. Their first home game on the season will be January 19th in Rec Hall against Loyola Maryland.