ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – After dropping the first set of Tuesday night's match in the Thompson Gymnasium, the Penn State Altoona men's volleyball team battled back to defeat non-conference opponent Elizabethtown College 3-1.
The Lions (10-11) recorded their second win in a row with a strong team performance, one of the team's best statistically this season. Penn State Altoona had its highest total of service aces (14) in a match this season, tied its highest total of points (75.0), had its second-highest total of digs (59), tied for its second-highest totals in assists (50) and blocks (9), and had its third-most kills (52) in a match this season.
The Lions' mark of 14 aces represents the most in a four-set match in Penn State Altoona men's volleyball program history, and it is also tied for the third-most in any length of match in team history.
Elizabethtown (11-16) won Tuesday's opening set 26-24, but Penn State Altoona came back by winning the next three sets 25-18, 25-18, and 25-18.
Frank Perehinec (Altoona, PA/Altoona) led the Lions with a season-high 14 kills to go along with two aces, one solo block, and one block assist. Brian Sheddy (Shrewsbury, PA/Susquehannock) had 10 kills, as well as 14 digs and three aces.
Ben Beaver (Hummelstown, PA/Lower Dauphin) tied his season-high in assists with 29, and he also contributed eight kills, seven digs, six aces, one solo block, and one block assist. Beaver's six aces are the most in a four-set match in Lions history, and they are tied for the second-most aces in any match in team history.
Dan Downs (Douglassville, PA/Daniel Boone) also posted eight kills for the Lions while adding two block assists and one solo block. Jon Ramsey (Pittsburgh, PA/Shaler) had four kills, six digs, and two block assists, and Mirko Pandini (Greensburg, PA/Greater Latrobe) had three kills, two block assists, and one solo block. Daniel Jordan (Pittsburgh, PA/Thomas Jefferson) also had three kills.
Tyler Chan (Framingham, MA/Framingham) led all players in the match with 20 digs.
Kyle Whiteman (Northampton, PA/Northampton) was second on the team in assists with 12, and Danny Dry (Douglassville, PA/Daniel Boone) chipped in nine assists. Tanner Yaw (Palmyra, PA/Palmyra) recorded two aces.
Penn State Altoona trailed by as many as six points midway through the first set, as Elizabethtown staked out a 14-8 lead. Behind 18-13 later in the set, the Lions reeled off four straight points to narrow the gap to one. Sheddy's kill late in the set gave Penn State Altoona its first lead, 24-23, since the opening point. But the Blue Jays responded by scoring three straight points to win the set, getting two kills from Nick Baxter and a set-clinching ace from Steven Schreffler.
The Lions got off to a good start in the second set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead after an Elizabethtown attack error, a kill by Sheddy, and an ace from Beaver. Later, Sheddy's kill gave Penn State Altoona a nine-point lead, 15-6. Beaver's kill gave the Lions the 25th point of the set, evening the match score at 1-1.
In the third set, Penn State Altoona maintained a steady lead over Elizabethtown to go up 2-1 in the match. After scoring the set's first point, the Blue Jays yielded a 9-3 run to the Lions, who never relinquished their lead the rest of the set. Three consecutive kills from Sheddy, Perehinec, and Pandini helped Penn State Altoona to a 24-17 lead, and after an Elizabethtown point, Beaver's kill wrapped up the set for the Lions.
Penn State Altoona won the fourth set in similar fashion, grabbing an early lead and riding it out through the remainder of the set. The Lions worked out to a 10-5 lead, then made it 12-5 after back-to-back aces from Yaw. Perehinec's solo block gave Penn State Altoona an eight-point lead, 16-8. Later, Ramsey's kill and a combination block from Jordan and Ramsey closed out the set, helping Penn State Altoona to the 3-1 match win.
Men's volleyball gets back at it tomorrow, Wednesday, March 27, when the Lions host non-conference opponent Juniata College for a 7:00 p.m. match in the Adler Arena. That marks Penn State Altoona's final home volleyball match of the season.