Men's volleyball outlasts Lewis, 3-2

January 10, 2005

Honolulu, HI -- The length was the same but the outcome was different as the Penn State men's volleyball team (1-2) came back from being down two games to outlast Lewis in five games (34-36, 26-30, 33-31, 30-17, 15-12) Friday night in the final match of the Hawaii Outrigger Invitational. It was Penn State's third five-game match of the year after dropping heartbreakers to Hawaii and defending national champion Brigham Young on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, to open the season.

Junior Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led the Lions with a career-high-tying 19 kills as senior Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) posted 16 kills, junior Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) added 14 and junior Kevin Wentzel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) chipped in 13. Penn State outhit Lewis .315 to .199 in the match, including outhitting the Flyers .286 to -.250 in the fourth game.

Junior setter Dan O'Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) directed the offense with 56 assists, adding three kills and four blocks. Freshman Luke Murray (East Petersburg, Pa.) dished out eight assists and added one kill during the second game.

Freshman libero Gary Vogel (Lancaster, Pa.) led all players with 14 digs, his second double-digit dig match in as many contests. Wentzel posted eight digs, O'Dell added five and Proper and sophomore Alex Gutor (State College, Pa.) notched four apiece.

Blocking was the story of the match for the Nittany Lions, who racked up 19.5 team blocks in the contest. Kowal led all players with 10 stuffs as Proper tied his career high with nine blocks, Meerstein added eight and Wentzel and sophomore Aaron Smith (Richmond, Va.) each recorded three.

Jeff Soler led Lewis with 25 kills as Brandon Sisk dished out 54 assists. Libero J.J. Castellano posted a team-high 10 digs while Enrique Escalante topped the blocking charts with five stuffs.

A Wentzel and Meerstein block opened up the fifth game and following a Lewis kill, a block by Proper and Meerstein gave Penn State the 2-1 lead. The teams traded points twice and back to back kills from Proper and Smith put the Lions up 5-4. A Lewis kill evened the score at 5-5 but a Smith kill down the line and a Smith ace off the tape put Penn State ahead 7-5. Two Penn State attack errors tied the game at 7-7 but a Kowal kill sparked a 4-0 Nittany Lion run capped by an O'Dell kill to put Penn State up, 11-7. Out of a Lewis timeout, a Flyer kill and ace made it 11-9 but a Meerstein slide kill pushed the advantage to 12-9. Lewis fought back with a block and a kill to pull within one at 12-11 to force a Penn State timeout. A Lewis kill out of the break evened the score at 12-12 but a Flyer service error and a Proper overpass kill gave Penn State game point at 14-12. Out of a Lewis timeout, a Flyer attack error gave the Nittany Lions the win, 15-12. Proper led the Lions with three kills.

Penn State took the 7-4 lead in the first game on a kill from Meerstein. But Lewis scored the next three points to tie the game at 7-7. Kills from Meerstein and Proper again gave the Lions the advantage and a Gutor put-away made the score 13-11. A Flyer kill sparked a 3-0 Lewis run to put them up 14-13 but a Flyer service and ball-handling error gave Penn State the 15-14 lead. A Meerstein kill and Lewis attack error pushed the Lion lead to 18-16 and back to back kills from Gutor and Wentzel put Penn State up 21-19. But two consecutive Lewis kills and Penn State attack errors put the Flyers up, 23-21. The teams traded points twice and a Lewis kill gave it the 26-23 lead. A Meerstein kill out of a Penn State timeout pulled the trimmed the Lewis lead to two at 26-24 and a Flyer attack error and a block from Smith knotted the score at 26-26. A Lewis kill gave them the 27-26 lead before a Meerstein kill sparked a 3-0 Penn State run to give the Nittany Lions game point at 29-27. But two Flyer kills tied the game at 29-29 and five ties ensued before a Lewis kill and a Penn State ball handling error ended the game, 36-34 in favor of Lewis. Meerstein led the Lions with nine kills in the game while Kowal posted six.

The Nittany Lions again took the early lead in the second game, going up 6-2. But Lewis caught fire, scoring the next six points, with five coming on consecutive kills. Two Meerstein kills tied the game at 8-8 but the Flyers again made a run, scoring seven of the next nine points to take the 15-10 lead. A Kowal kill trimmed the Lewis lead to four at 15-11 but the Flyers maintained the advantage, going up 21-16 on a service ace. A Gutor kill and Flyer attack error brought Penn State to within two at 24-22 but Lewis scored four of the next six points to take the 28-24 lead. A Meerstein kill and a block from Meerstein and Proper pulled the Lions within two at 28-26 but a Lewis kill and a Penn State attack error ended the game, 30-26 in favor of the Flyers. Gutor led the Lions with five kills in the stanza.

Game three remained even early on with Lewis taking the 10-8 lead on a kill, but put-aways from Meerstein and Proper knotted the score at 10-10. Following a Penn State attack error, the Nittany Lions scored the next four points to grab the 14-11 advantage. Two Lewis kills brought the Flyers to within on at 14-13 but a Lewis service error sparked a four-point Penn State run capped by a block from O'Dell and Kowal to put the Lions up 18-13. The teams traded points and two Lewis kills and blocks brought them to within one at 19-18. A Wentzel kill gave Penn State the two-point cushion but back to back Lewis kill knotted the score at 20-20. A Meerstein and Proper block and a kill from Proper put Penn State up 23-22 but a Lewis kill and block put it ahead 24-23. The teams traded points, a Proper kill tied the score at 25-25 and a Lewis kill made it 26-25 in favor of the Flyers. Following a disputed call and a yellow card on head coach Mark Pavlik, which resulted in a point for Lewis, Kowal produced three consecutive kills to put the Lions ahead 28-27. The teams traded points before two Lewis kill gave them game point at 30-29. A Flyer service error and a Meerstein kill put Penn State up, 31-30, and a Lewis kill tied the game at 31-31. But a Wentzel kill and a Proper cross-court put-away off a Lewis player ended the game, 33-31. Kowal led the Lions with seven kills as Proper and Wentzel added five each.

Penn State came out of the gates on fire in the fourth game, taking the 6-2 lead on a block from Proper and Kowal. The teams traded points twice before an O'Dell kill sparked a 5-0 Penn State run to put the Lions up 13-4 on back to back blocks, one by O'Dell, Wentzel and Kowal and another by O'Dell and Kowal. The Flyers scored four of the next six points to trim Penn State‚s lead to 15-8 but a Wentzel kill, back to back blocks and two Lewis attack errors pushed the Lion lead to 20-8. Lewis scored six of the next seven points to pull within seven at 21-14 but a Meerstein kill and a block from Kowal, Proper and Smith made it 23-14. The teams traded points twice before kills from Wentzel and Smith put the Lions up 26-16 and a Meerstein kill ended the game, 30-17. Wentzel led the Lions with five kills as Meerstein added three. As a team, Penn State recorded nine blocks in the game alone, led by Kowal with six and Proper with four. The Nittany Lions held Lewis to a -.205 (9-17-39) hitting percentage in the set.

The Nittany Lions remain on the road, traveling to Ball State and IPFW on Jan. 21-22. Penn State opens up the 2005 home slate on Jan. 28 versus EIVA foe Rutgers-Newark.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009