Men's volleyball hosts Mount Olive, Saint Francis

January 29, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's volleyball remains home this weekend, hosting a pair matches in main gym at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions welcome Mount Olive (3-2) for a non-conference matchup Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. before hosting Saint Francis (0-10) in the 2015 EIVA opener Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.

Fans can stream both matches online this weekend via Penn State All-Access with a paid subscription.

Beginning this weekend, Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik and the Nittany Lion men's volleyball team will help raise awareness for the EIVA's "EIVA Rallies" campaign by wearing a fedora in the Penn State conference opener against the visiting Red Flash. The annual campaign benefits the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In support of the cause, the Nittany Lions will host a silent auction during Saturday's match on the west mezzanine level in the main gym at Rec Hall featuring special game-worn EIVA Rallies warm-ups.

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is one of the largest and oldest private cancer centers. Throughout its history, the center has dedicated more than 100 years to patient care and innovative research.

Last weekend, Penn State matched up against the nation's top two teams in the 2015 home opening matches. The Nittany Lions came up short in both outings against top-ranked Loyola and No. 2 Lewis, despite having squared off against their fifth ranked team of the season.

QUICK SETS
* Senior Aaron Russell entered the week as the national leader in kills per set, averaging 4.72 kills per frame.

* The Nittany Lions own a perfect 7-0 record in the all-time series against Mount Olive, having played the Trojans in the last four consecutive seasons.

* Penn State also holds an unblemished 34-0 mark in the all-time series against Saint Francis, which dates back to 1995, when the two teams first met in the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass.

*The Nittany Lions have never lost an EIVA opener with Pavlik at the helm of the program. Penn State also heads into this weekend's EIVA opener with a 223-7 record in conference play under the direction of Pavlik, having surrendered no more than one league loss in each season during his tenure.

* Penn State slipped out of the top 15 in this week's AVCA Poll for the first time since 1998, but still received 15 votes.

RUSSELL LEADING THE NATION IN KILLS PER SET
Senior Aaron Russell enters the week as the national leader in kills per set, averaging 4.72 kills per frame. Russell has recorded double-digit kills in all six matches this season, posting at least 20 kills in three of the last four consecutive matches. He's also led the team in the category in four of six contests this season.

PENN STATE VS. MOUNT OLIVE
The Nittany Lions own a perfect 7-0 record in the all-time series against the Trojans. In the short seven-match series between the two teams, Penn State has swept Mount Olive in each outing, including last year's meeting in 2014. The Trojans are also a fairly familiar opponent, having faced off against the Nittany Lions in the last four consecutive seasons.

PENN STATE VS. SAINT FRANCIS
The Nittany Lions hold an unblemished 34-0 mark in the all-time series against the Red Flash. The series stretches back to 1995, when the two teams first met in the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass. Penn State claimed a 3-0 win in the first outing. Within the last 10 years, the Nittany Lions have dropped just seven sets to Saint Francis, winning both matches in four sets during the 2014 season.

PAVLIK APPROACHING CAREER MARK
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.

AVCA DI-II COACHES' POLL UPDATE: RELEASE THREE
Penn State slipped out of the top 15 in this week's AVCA Poll, but still received 15 votes. 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 six of the 10, the Nittany Lions have now seen or will see a total of four more teams from the top 15.

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 week two with his first double-double of the season, posting 15 kills and 14 digs at Ball State.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Penn State remains home next weekend, hosting Erskine in a non-conference matchup Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in south gym at Rec Hall. The following afternoon, the Nittany Lions will host their annual Penn State Alumni match at 3 p.m. in south gym.   

Last Updated January 29, 2015