No. 15 men's volleyball set for home opener

January 23, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 15 Penn State men's volleyball (0-4) returns home from the road to kick off the 2015 home slate. The Nittany Lions welcome top-ranked Loyola Chicago (3-0) Friday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the home opener, before hosting No. 2 Lewis (4-1) Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in south gym.

Having already met a trio of ranked teams in the first four matches of the season, the Nittany Lions enter this weekend looking to bounce back from a pair of losses on the road last weekend at Ball State and No. 13 IPFW.

QUICK SETS
* Redshirt senior Nick Goodell highlighted the first EIVA Weekly Awards release with EIVA Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performances in the first two weeks of the 2015 season. Goodell recorded at least seven digs in three of the first four matches of the season, while also posting double digit kills in each match.

* Last weekend senior Aaron Russell led all hitters with a career-high 32 kills on .439 hitting at Ball State. Despite the close 3-2 loss, Russell added a team-high three aces to go along with five digs and three blocks. His performance marks the first career 30-plus kill outing for Russell, while also making him the first Nittany Lion since 2011 (Joe Sunder vs. Hawaii) to put down 30 kills in a single match.

* The Nittany Lions own an 11-8 mark in the all-time series against the top-ranked Ramblers, despite falling short in both matches during the 2014 season. Penn State also leads the all-time series against No. 2 Lewis 19-8, having claimed wins against the Flyers in both meetings during the 2014 season.

* PSU slid to No. 15 in the AVCA DI-II Coaches Poll, after spending a week ranked No. 10. Presently, the Nittany Lions are set to square off a total of 12 teams featured in the poll including 10 teams ranked within the top 15 and two receiving votes. * Senior Aaron Russell earned a spot on the Outrigger Invitational All-Tournament team following the opening week of competition. Russell recorded back-to-back double-digit kill performances, highlighting the week with a match-high 19 kills in a close 3-2 loss to eighth-ranked UC Irvine.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
The Nittany Lions own an 11-8 mark in the all-time series against the top-ranked Ramblers, despite falling short in both matches during the 2014 season. In the most recent outing be¬tween Penn State and Loyola, the Ramblers edged the Nittany Lions in a close five-setter in the NCAA national semifinals last year. PSU also leads the all-time series against No. 2 Lewis 19-8, having claimed wins against the Flyers in both meetings during the 2014 season. Penn State and Lewis most recently met in the first ever NCAA Play-In match last year, where the Nittany Lions earned a 3-1 victory to advance to the NCAA national semifinals.

CAREER DAY ON THE COURT FOR RUSSELL
Last weekend senior Aaron Russell led all hitters with a career-high 32 kills on .439 hitting at Ball State. Despite the close 3-2 loss, Russell added a team-high three aces to go along with five digs and three blocks. His performance marks the first career 30-plus kill outing for Russell, while also making him the first Nittany Lion since 2011 (Joe Sunder vs. Hawaii) to put down 30 kills in a single match.

GOODELL EARNS EIVA DEFENSIVE HONOR
Redshirt senior Nick Goodell highlighted the first EIVA Weekly Awards release of the season with EIVA Defensive Player of the week honors for his performances in the first two weeks of the 2015 slate. Goodell recorded at least seven digs in three of the first four matches of the season, while also posting double figure kills in each match. Through four matches, he's tied for second on the team in blocks per set (0.53) and second on the squad in digs per set (1.76). In the Outrigger Invitational, he kicked off the season with 10 kills and seven digs against No. 8 UC Irvine, before returning the next night to lead the team with 14 kills against No. 10 Hawaii. Goodell highlighted last weekend with his first double-double of the season, posting 15 kills and 14 digs at Ball State.

RUSSELL ON OUTRIGGER INVITE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Senior Aaron Russell earned a spot on the Outrigger Invitational All-Tournament team. Russell recorded back-to-back double-digit kill performances, highlighting the week with a match-high 19 kills in a close 3-2 loss to eighth-ranked UC Irvine. Against No. 10 Hawaii, he tallied 10 kills, while also leading the team with eight digs and three aces.

AVCA DI-II COACHES' POLL UPDATE: WEEK TWO
Penn State slid to No. 15 in the AVCA DI-II Coaches Poll, after spending a week ranked No. 10. Presently, the Nittany Lions are set to square off a total of 12 teams featured in the poll including 10 teams ranked within the top 15 and two receiving votes. Having already taken on No. 7 Hawaii and No. 3 UC Irvine, the Nittany Lions have seen or will see a total of eight more teams from the poll.

PAVLIK APPROACHING CAREER MILESTONE
In his 21st year at the helm of the program, head coach Mark Pavlik has amassed 482 career victories. His all-time mark puts him just 18 shy of the milestone 500 career-wins plateau.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Penn State remains home next weekend, hosting a pair of matches in main gym at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions open the weekend hosting Mount Olive Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m., before welcoming Saint Francis to the court Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. in the 2015 EIVA conference opener.

Last Updated January 23, 2015