Penn State claims EIVA Championship, advances to NCAA Semifinals

University Park, Pa. — The 10th-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team (24-6) captured its 23rd overall and 13th straight EIVA Championship title with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 26-24) victory against Springfield Saturday evening at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions advance to the NCAA National Semifinals, which will be held at Rec Hall on May 5.

 The Nittany Lions earned the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 seed Ohio State (24-6), which won the MIVA with a 3-1 victory against Loyola-Chicago, at 9 p.m. on Thursday in Rec Hall. The semifinal match will stream live on with a tape-delay broadcast on Friday (May 6) on ESPN2. Top-seeded USC takes on No. 4 seed UCSB in the earlier match at 7 p.m. The USC-UCSB match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with a simulcast on

The winners of the semifinal matches will square off for the national championship at 7 p.m. on Saturday (May 7) in Rec Hall, with the match airing live on ESPN2 and

Single match tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youth and students and $5 for groups of 15 or more. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket Office beginning May 2 for walk up customers. Phone orders are also being accepted via 814-865-5555 during the same hours. In addition, all-session tickets are currently on sale for the National Championship. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth, students and senior citizens.

With the win Saturday, Penn State now owns an overall record of 61-3 in the EIVA Championship tournament, with a 23-3 record in the EIVA final dating back to 1986. This will be the 16th NCAA appearance for the Nittany Lions under head coach Mark Pavlik and the 26th overall for the program.

Senior Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. He was joined on the all-tournament team by redshirt junior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.), junior Ryan Wolf (York, Pa.), Springfield's Cal Palumbo and Alberto Bravo, Eric Lucas of George Mason and Jeff Zornig of Rutgers-Newark.

Sunder led the Nittany Lions with 13 kills, while Wolf and sophomore Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) had 11 apiece. Redshirt junior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 36 assists, while Del Valle had a match-high 14 digs. Sophomore Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) had a team-best four blocks.

The Nittany Lions opened the match taking a 7-1 lead forcing a Springfield timeout. The Pride tallied two straight points before a 6-2 PSU run had Penn State leading 13-5 and Springfield heading back to the bench. The break failed to faze the Nittany Lions as their lead grew to nine, 17-8, after kills from Turko and Wolf. A kill by Springfield's Cal Palumbo sparked a 7-2 run that brought the Pride within four, 19-15. Penn State called a timeout and kills from Sunder, Turko and Comfort had Penn State back up by seven, 23-16. Two kills from Springfield's Alberto Bravo and two PSU errors held Penn State at set-point and had the Pride within four, 24-20. A Springfield service error gave set one to PSU, 25-20.

Penn State came out strong again in the second frame, taking a 5-1 lead, and Springfield burned a timeout early. The Nittany Lions maintained control and had a six-point advantage, 11-5, when Springfield called a second timeout. Penn State's momentum only continued to grow. With an eight-point lead, 18-10, a 3-0 run had Penn State's lead in double-digits, 21-10. The Pride registered two points, but an error prevented Springfield from embarking on a run. Penn State had a 22-13 lead when kills from Comfort and Wolf and a Springfield error secured set two for the Nittany Lions 25-14.

Springfield grabbed the early lead in the third and final stanza, 7-3, and Penn State would trail the Pride for almost the entirety of the set. Penn State called a timeout and fought to within three, 9-6. Springfield continued to control the set with the Nittany Lions coming no closer than two points, 18-16, near the midpoint of the set. A Sunder kill and a Springfield error had the Lions within one, 20-19, and the Pride calling a timeout. Sunder tied it up at 20-20 with a kill and Goas gave the Lions their first lead of the set with a kill. Penn State called a timeout and a block by Goas and sophomore Ian Hendries (Cardiff, Calif.) gave Penn State a two-point edge. However, the Pride didn't give up and pounded two kills and had a block to knot the score at 23-23. Penn State used its second timeout, but Jeff Gutmann put down a kill to put the Pride back in front, 24-23. Sunder posted back-to-back kills to move the Lions back into the lead, 25-24, before Wolf closed out the set and the match with a kill, 26-24.

The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will meet for the third time this season. Ohio State won the first meeting, 3-0, on Feb. 9 in Columbus, but Penn State earned a 3-1 triumph on April 10 in the confines of Rec Hall. Penn State is 65-24-1 all-time against the Buckeyes and the teams last met in the NCAA National Semifinals in 2008 at UC Irvine. Penn State won the match, 3-1. 

Penn State last met UCSB on March 11 in Long Beach. The Nittany Lions earned a 3-1 victory against the Gauchos. Penn State is 6-8 all-time against UCSB.

The Nittany Lions own a 6-17 record against the Trojans. Penn State and USC last met on May 7, 2009 in the NCAA National Semifinals in Provo, Utah. USC earned a 3-1 victory to advance to the championship match.


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Last Updated May 03, 2011