Men's volleyball takes on Erskine on Friday

February 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's volleyball (2-6, 1-0) remains at home this week, welcoming Erskine (7-1, 4-0) to Rec Hall's south gym for a non-conference matchup Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions will look to extend their two-game winning streak, having posted a 2-0 mark last weekend.

PSU picked up its first two victories of the season at home last week. Penn State kicked off the weekend with a 3-0 win against Mount Olive before sweeping past Saint Francis to open the 2014 EIVA slate with a 1-0 mark in conference play.

The Nittany Lions and the Flying Fleet will square off for just the second time in program history. Penn State captured a 3-0 win in the inaugural meeting between the two teams in 2014. Erskine enters the matchup riding a seven-match winning streak, helped out by setter Michael Schneck, who's averaging a national-best 12.29 assists per set.

QUICK SETS
* After helping the team to a pair of wins last weekend, senior Aaron Russell has been named the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The award marks the second consecutive week the Nittany Lions have earned one of the two EIVA Weekly honors.

* Last weekend PSU kicked off its participation in the EIVA Rallies! campaign as head coach Mark Pavlik helped raise awareness by wearing a fedora in the Nittany Lions' EIVA opener against travel partner Saint Francis. The annual campaign benefits the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

* Setter Taylor Hammond has paced senior Aaron Russell to a .378 hitting percentage, which ranks 14th nationally and fourth in the conference. Russell's presently averaging 4.61 kills per set, which is slotted third in the nation and second in the EIVA.

* Penn State received 12 votes in this week's AVCA Poll, since slipping out of the top 15 last week. Presently, the Nittany Lions have now seen or will see a total of nine teams from the top 15.

PAVLIK APPROACHING CAREER MARK
In his 21st year at the helm of the program, head coach Mark Pavlik has amassed 484 career victories. His all-time mark puts him just 16 shy of the milestone 500 career-wins plateau.

MAKING THE MOST OF IT
Sophomore Chris Nugent highlighted last weekend with a pair of career high performances. In his first career start against Mount Olive, Nugent led the offense with a match-high 16 kills on .500 hitting, adding three aces, five digs and two blocks to earn Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match honors. The next night, he set another career-high mark with a match-high seven aces against Saint Francis.

RUSSELL NAMED EIVA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After helping the team to a pair of wins last weekend, senior Aaron Russell has been named the EIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The award is the first of the season for Russell, who previously earned EIVA Offensive Player of the Week accolades four times in 2014. The award also marks the second consecutive week the Nittany Lions have earned one of the two EIVA Weekly honors.

Russell led the team with 4.17 kills per set last weekend, averaging a squad-best .513 hitting percentage. Defensively, he finished second on the team in blocks per set (0.83), while also tying for second on the team in digs per set (1.83). Against Mount Olive, he tallied eight kills, eight digs and two aces in the 3-0 victory, before highlighting the weekend with a match-high 17 kills on .625 hitting in the 2015 EIVA opener against Saint Francis.

RALLYING FOR A CAUSE
Last weekend Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik helped raise awareness for the EIVA's "EIVA Rallies!" campaign by wearing a fedora in the Nittany Lions' EIVA opener against travel partner, Saint Francis. Each year, Penn State men's volleyball participates in the annual campaign, which benefits the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During last weekend's EIVA Rallies! silent auction, PSU raised nearly $700 to donate to the cause on behalf of the Nittany Lions.

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.

AVCA DI-II COACHES' POLL UPDATE: WEEK THREE
Penn State received 12 votes in this week's AVCA Poll, since slipping out of the top 15 last week. Presently, the Nittany Lions have now seen or will see a total of nine teams from the top 15.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Penn State splits next week with a home-and-away series. The Nittany Lions travel to Ohio State for a midweek matchup against the Buckeyes Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. PSU returns home to host EIVA conference opponent George Mason on Valentine's Day, Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.   

Last Updated February 06, 2015