Men's volleyball returns home to close out regular season

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The 14th-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team returns home to conclude the regular season on April 19-20. The Nittany Lions host Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. Both matches are set for 5:30 p.m. starts in the South Gym of Rec Hall.

Nittany Lion Preview
Penn State visited Concordia and No. 4 UC Irvine on April 12-13 and went 1-1 with a 3-1 win against the Eagles, but a 3-0 setback to the Anteaters. Redshirt sophomore Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) led Penn State with 4.00 kills per set, while sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) averaged 3.00 per set. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) posted 8.29 assists per set, while Goodell led the team at the service line with 0.86 aces per set. Goodell and Russell were the team's top defenders with 1.57 and 1.43 digs per set, respectively. Senior Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) had a team-best 1.33 blocks per set and redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) was second on the team with 1.00 blocks per set.

Against Concordia and UC Irvine, Penn State hit .204 and averaged 10.57 kills, 9.29 assists, 1.57 aces, 6.71 digs per set and 2.64 blocks per set.

Penn State vs. Rutgers-Newark
Penn State has an 85-24-1 all-time record against the Scarlet Raiders. Earlier this season on March 1, the Nittany Lions visited Rutgers-Newark. Penn State came away with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-19).

Scouting the Scarlet Raiders
Rutgers-Newark owns a 4-19 record this season and has not won any EIVA matches at 0-12. The Scarlet Raiders most recently defeated Lesley and Southern Vermont on March 29-30, but have since lost four consecutive matches.

Manuel Felipez leads the Scarlet Raiders with a 3.37 kills per set average. Kevin McCandless averages 6.69 assists per set, while Adrian Lopez has 5.10 assists per set. Felipez is also Rutgers-Newark's top defensive player with 1.57 digs per set. At the net, Travis Mintzer has a team-high 0.65 blocks per set.

Penn State vs. NJIT
Penn State owns a 31-1 record against NJIT. Penn State traveled to Newark, N.J. to take on the Highlanders on March 2. The Nittany Lions secured a 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-13) win against NJIT.

Scouting the Highlanders
NJIT is 7-19 this season and 4-8 in the EIVA. The Highlanders have won three of their last four matches, including EIVA wins against Rutgers-Newark and Sacred Heart. NJIT visits Saint Francis on April 19 before taking on the Nittany Lions.

Sophomore opposite Kajetan Borecki and sophomore outside Chris Kaepernick lead the Highlanders offensively with 2.36 and 2.30 kills per set, respectively. Senior Matthew Lui and sophomore Zak Robben share setting duties and have averaging 7.78 and 6.74 assists per set, respectively. Senior libero Brady Smith is NJIT's top back row player with 2.54 digs per set, while senior opposite Doug Battersby is the leader at the net with 0.78 blocks per set.

What's Next?
Penn State earned the No. 1 seed for the EIVA Tournament and will host the two-day event on April 25 and 27. Matches on April 25 are set for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., while Saturday's championship match is set for a 7 p.m. start.

For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.

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Last Updated April 18, 2013