Returning home after a four-match road swing, the Penn State men’s volleyball team didn’t find the confines as friendly as they would have liked in a 3-0 loss to Princeton (23-25, 17-25, ) on Friday (April 13) evening inside of the Recreation Building.
Needing a win to clinch a spot in the EIVA Tournament, Princeton (11-14, 7-6 EIVA) used a .421 hitting percentage and limited Penn State (14-10, 9-4 EIVA) to just a .175 attacking clip in the sweep. The Nittany Lions had 18 attacking errors to just seven for the Tigers, and were out-blocked 10.0-3.5 in the match.
The Mike Anderson Man-of-the-Match was redshirt-senior Aidan Albrecht (Old Bridge, N.J.). He led Penn State with seven kills and added one dig, one service ace and one block. Albrecht led the Nittany Lions in kills for the 19th time in his career and eighth time in 2018.
The Penn State reserves posted 11 of the 32 kills on the night, led by redshirt-sophomore Calvin Mende (Redlands, Calif.). Mende returned after missing the last two matches due to injury and totaled six kills on 17 swings. Redshirt-sophomore Frank Melvin (Mohrsville, Pa.) added three kills and sophomore Nathan Smith (Los Altos, Calif.) came in during the third set and added two kills and nine assists.
For Princeton, George Huhmann led all attackers with 19 kills on 32 swings, with just two errors, to boast a .531 hitting percentage. Joe Kelly handed out 31 assists, Junior Oboh had five blocks and Corry Short posted 12 digs, with both totals the match high.
OH Aidan Albrecht — Led Penn State with seven kills on 15 swings. Added one service ace, one dig and one block.
OH Calvin Mende — Returned from injury to post six kills on 17 swings. Added three digs.
L Lee Smith — Led the team in digs with six, adding three assists.
Service Woes — Penn State could muster only one service ace on the Tigers, committing 13 errors from the line.
MB George Huhmann — Piled up 19 kills on 32 swings with just two errors, hitting .531 for the match. Added three digs and three blocks.
OH Greg Luck — Posted eight kills and three blocks.
OH Parker Dixon — Chipped in seven kills.
MB Junior Oboh — Had two kills, five blocks and four digs.
Hitting High — The .421 hitting percentage for the Tigers is the second-highest allowed by Penn State this season (Ohio State; .480 — 1/28/18).
Princeton raced out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set, prompting a Penn State timeout. The set was playing a back-and-forth manner for the next 12 points to make it 13-9 in favor of the Tigers. A Huhmann service errors started a 9-3 run for PSU to give the Nittany Lions an 18-16 edge on back-to-back kills by Mende. A pair of errors from Penn State evened things up at 18-all and the set also saw an even score at 19, 22 and 23. Princeton used a service error by Jason Donorovich (Lockport, N.J.) to gain match point and Huhmann ended the first set with a kill. Huhmann led all attackers with seven kills in the opening set, while Mende and Albrecht paced Penn State with three kills apiece.
Princeton 25, at Penn State 23
Princeton leads 1-0
After the second set saw ties at each increment up to 4-4, Penn State reeled off back-to-back points on a Mende kill and a Tiger attacking error to take a 6-4 edge. Princeton, however, scored the next six points, four coming on kills, to gain control of the set at 10-6. The lead hovered around four points up to 19-15, when Princeton used three kills and a service ace to push its lead to eight points, 23-15. The Tigers were able to exchange side out points to claim a 25-17 set win and take the 2-0 lead in the match.
Princeton 25, at Penn State 17
Princeton leads 2-0
The two teams exchanged service errors to begin the third set, but Princeton scored the next five points — including three attacking errors from Penn State — before a Matthew McLaren (Aurora, Colo.) kill halted the run to make it 6-2 in favor of the visitors. The lead swelled to six points, 9-3, on a Huhmann kill, before the Nittany Lions used kills from Nathan Smith and Albrecht to trim it back to four. After a bit of side-out volleyball, Princeton ran off five-straight points to push the lead to 18-9 and Penn State wouldn’t get much closer. The Tigers and Nittany Lions traded points most the rest of the way to earn the 25-17 set three win and claim the match. The third set was Penn State’s most efficient on the attack, hitting .308, but Princeton closed the match with a .682 attacking percentage in the final set.
Princeton 25, at Penn State 17
Penn State leads 1-0
Penn State will host NJIT on Saturday (April 14) at 7 p.m. inside Rec Hall for the final match of the regular season. The Nittany Lions will honor the senior trio of Aidan Albrecht, Kevin Gear and Jalen Penrose in a pre-match ceremony.