Lions Lose Pair in Non-Conference Tri-Match

Photo (by Joel Nelson): Penn State Altoona sophomore Tommy Kisick sets the ball during Saturday's match against Nazareth in the Adler Arena.
Photo (by Joel Nelson): Penn State Altoona sophomore Tommy Kisick sets the ball during Saturday's match against Nazareth in the Adler Arena.

ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona men's volleyball hosted a pair of strong non-conference opponents for a tri-match on Saturday in the Adler Arena, and the Lions suffered a tough 3-2 loss to #13 Nazareth College before going down 3-0 to Mount Saint Joseph University.

In its first match of the day, Penn State Altoona (4-3) came close to recording its first-ever victory over a ranked team in men's volleyball program history. But Nazareth (4-3), who entered the day as the 13th-ranked team in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 15 poll, pulled out a back-and-forth five-set thriller.

Penn State Altoona won the first set 25-20 before Nazareth countered with a 25-15 victory in the second set. The Lions bounced back to take the third set 25-21, but the Golden Flyers forced a fifth set by claiming a 25-22 victory in the fourth. The visitors ultimately pulled out an 18-16 triumph in the final set to take the match.

Tommy Kisick (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) finished the match with 50 assists for Penn State Altoona, recording the second-most assists in a match in team history and  the most assists in a five-set match for the Lions. Kisick added one solo block and one block assists to go along with five digs.

Brandon Arentz (Mount Wolf, PA/Northeastern) led the Lions in both kills and digs, tallying a season-high 15 kills and adding 12 digs. He also finished with one solo block and two block assists. Justin Bannister (Willow Hill, PA/Fannett-Metal) also finished with a personal season-high total of kills, posting 13 kills to go along with one solo block and four digs.

Dan Downs (Reading, PA/Daniel Boone) led Penn State Altoona in blocks, finishing the match with three solo blocks and two block assists, and he also contributed 12 kills. Brian Sheddy (Shrewsbury, PA/Susquehannock) put up a season-high 10 kills while adding nine digs, and Ryan Dry (Douglassville, PA/Daniel Boone) had six kills, one solo block, and one block assist.

Jonathan Ruhl (Lancaster, PA/Manheim Township) recorded 11 digs for Penn State Altoona.

In their second and final match of the day, the Lions were swept 25-14, 25-22, 25-19 by Mount St. Joseph (3-2).

Bannister led Penn State Altoona in kills with seven, and he also finished with 10 digs. Arentz added six kills, seven digs, and one solo block. Sheddy posted a team-high 15 digs to go along with five kills.

Kisick totaled 18 assists while adding eight digs, and Ruhl also had eight digs.

Penn State Altoona men's volleyball is back in action on the road tomorrow, Sunday, January 28, traveling for a tri-match hosted by York College of New York. The Lions start the day against John Jay College at 12:00 p.m. before taking on York at 2:00 p.m.

Notes: Mount St. Joseph defeated Nazareth 3-1 in the neutral site match between the two visiting teams.