Penn State Sweeps Lindenwood in South Gym
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – It was a change of scenery for the Penn State Nittany Lions today, but that didn’t prevent them from sweeping the visiting Lindenwood Lions. Due to the gymnastics meet in the main gym of Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions played their volleyball match in the South Gym, a smaller arena more closely resembling a high school gymnasium. But the shift in location had no negative effect, as Penn State took care of business in three sets.
The largest excitement of the night came from a tight first set, in which Penn State and Lindenwood traded points up until the final kill, when the arm of redshirt junior Henrik Falck Lauten sealed the first set victory for Penn State, 30-28.
The second set saw the Nittany Lions at their peak, as they closed the set on a 9-2 scoring run to outlast Lindenwood 25-15. The run was in large thanks to freshman Cal Fisher, whose five kills and three service aces in the second set alone allowed the Nittany Lions to dominate.
“In row four tonight with Fish’s serve, I think we scored about 12 points,” Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said. “We were taking advantage of the ball that he was putting in play. He was making it tough on their serve.”
Fisher credited his successful night to the serving strategies employed by him and his teammates.
“It all goes back to serving,” Fisher said. “Putting them out of system, then giving ourselves the opportunity with the free ball or a roll shot really opened up the options for our setters, who were able to open up the block for us.”
The third and final set didn’t quite see the same domination that the Nittany Lions brought in the second, but the dagger by freshman Brett Wildman ensured the 3-0 sweep, as Penn State won the set 25-23.
A large reason for Penn State’s painless victory came from the physicality at the net, as the Nittany Lions’ tall front line outclassed Lindenwood in nearly every way. Much of the credit must go to redshirt junior Jason Donorovich, whose nine blocks more than quadrupled the total number of blocks by Lindenwood.
“We were solid with our block,” Pavlik said. “Jason does a real nice job of that. It’s tough to believe that he’s only been in this position for 18 months. He’s becoming a solid middle blocker for us.”
As for the shift in location, freshman Sam Marsh took note of it and even called it a benefit for the team’s performance.
“I felt like yesterday’s game seemed a bit flat,” Marsh said. “Going into today’s game, the bleachers were packed and everything was louder. The atmosphere was a lot more upbeat, and everybody had a little more energy as well.”
With the win, Penn State moves to 4-2, while Lindenwood falls to 2-5. The Nittany Lions now embark on a road trip that continues until mid-February, with stops in Chicago and Long Beach. The next home game won’t be until Friday, Feb. 15, when Harvard visits Rec Hall for Penn State’s second EIVA game of the season.
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.