Penn State Sweeps Ohio State in Three Sets to Snap Four-Game Losing Streak
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Penn State swept the Ohio State Buckeyes in what was a dominating match for the Nittany Lions, winning in three quick sets at Rec Hall on Tuesday to snap a four-match losing streak.
“It’s nice to finally get back in the win column,” Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said. “I really liked the feel, the focus, the competitive spirit that we had on our side of the net.”
Each set was a back-and-forth battle, with neither team maintaining a long-lasting lead. A combination of Nittany Lion kills and Ohio State errors helped Penn State go up by five and grab the first set 25-20, take the second set 25-18, and finish the third set 25-23.
Errors for the Buckeyes were abundant and not far between. They recorded 20 service errors, adding another 11 attack errors on the night.
Whenever the Buckeyes would come back to tie or take a lead, the Nittany Lions showed no signs of giving up or slowing down.
“If we dominated any aspect of the game tonight it was the momentum and the energy,” redshirt junior Jason Donorovich said. “It didn’t matter what the score was, whether we were up four or five or down two, we were always calm and collected and we knew if we executed on our side we would come out on top.”
Donorovich had a stellar performance, finishing the night with a season-high of four service aces and an impressive seven kills.
Who the opponent was may have brought some of the momenta behind the win, but Donorovich believes that this win is a sign that they are making the progress they have been working on all season.
“We’ve had a lot of frustration in our locker room because we know how good we can be and we noticed things aren’t clicking every time,” Donorovich said. “This is the start of the second half of the season and we wanted to start it in the win column.”
One of these early season struggles, according to Pavlik, was getting the young guys adjusted to playing as a team.
“I like this team a lot and I think they are still in the process of [figuring out] how do we get stronger as a team, not necessarily volleyball-wise, but how do we grow together here and be at our best in the next couple of weeks,” Pavlik said.
Redshirt junior Henrik Falck Lauten is a major part of this team’s growth. After playing two years at Warner University, the Norwegian transfer is adjusting to his first season of eligibility as a Nittany Lion and although there may be some growing pains, his 191 kills this season say otherwise.
Falck Lauten finished Tuesday with 10 kills and eight digs. He has had double-digit performances in the last three matches.
“I’m 100 percent confident that every gym we go in that Henrik is the best volleyball player,” Donorovich said. “You maybe have seen 60 percent of what he is capable of.”
Freshman Cole Bogner had another strong outing for the Nittany Lions. The setter record 32 assists, nearing his season-high of 40.
“Our passing was spot on today and it made setting so much easier,” Bogner said.
Pavlik added that the passing and serving they were able to accomplish tonight will be key to success in the coming weeks.
After a long stretch on the road, the Nittany Lions are looking forward to a week off, preparing physically and mentally for a jam-packed remainder of their season.
On March 26, the Nittany Lions face Saint Francis at home, followed by three straight two-match weekends all leading up to the EIVA Tournament. With much more to come, time will be spent focusing on the next challenge.
“It’s a new game and this one is behind us now,” Bogner said. “Saint Francis is our next game and we have to beat them.”
Carolyn Sistrand is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and history. To contact her, email email@example.com.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism, History