UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In the second matchup of two top-10, BIG Ten schools, No. 10 Penn State defeated ninth-ranked Ohio State, 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-9).
Tom Comfort had a match-high 18 points with 14 kills (.357), two aces, a solo block, two assist blocks and a team-best 14 digs. Joe Sunder finished second on the team with 11 digs. Edgardo Goas dished out 36 assists to pace the Nittany Lion offense. Nick Turko tied for first on the team with Sunder with three aces apiece. Jace Olsen tallied seven digs as did Del Valle. Mars had a team-leading five blocks, including three solo.
The Nittany Lions (21-5) attacked at a .337 clip and held Ohio State to .242. Penn State totaled 44 kills, 11 aces, 25 digs and 9.5 total team blocks. The Buckeyes posted 41 kills, one ace, 25 digs and eight team blocks. Penn State gave up 18 service errors to 17 for Ohio State.
The first set was close to start with Ohio State taking a 6-4 lead. A 4-0 run by the Lions moved Penn State into the lead, 8-6, and sent Ohio State to the bench for a timeout. The Buckeyes fought to within one, 10-9, and trailed by no more than two until a 3-1 run by the Lions moved the Lions up by three, 15-12. Soon after, kills from Comfort, Olsen and Sunder had Penn State leading, 19-15, and Ohio State calling a second timeout. The Buckeyes cut the gap to one, 20-19, with a 3-1 run, but two kills each from Comfort and Sunder and a Goas ace secured set one for PSU, 25-21.
Ohio State opened set two taking an 8-3 lead. The Nittany Lions used an early timeout and fought to within three, 13-10, midway through the frame. A 5-2 Buckeye run had Penn State behind by six, 18-12. Scott Kegerreis pounded three kills as the set wore on, but three PSU errors and two Ohio State kills kept the Buckeyes firmly in control. Trailing by seven, 23-16, Turko served up an ace. However, the Buckeyes took the ball back on the next play when John Klanac tallied a kill to put the OSU at set point, 24-17. Klanac registered an attack error to bring PSU within six, 24-18, but setter Steven Kehoe closed out set two for Ohio State with a kill, 25-18.
The third stanza was tight initially, as Penn State had a two-point edge halfway through at 12-10. But the Nittany Lions would begin to pull away. After an Ohio State timeout, Penn State used a 3-1 run with two kills from Comfort and one from Olsen to take an 18-14 lead. Ohio State called a second timeout, but Penn State would not slow down. A Comfort ace and back-to-back kills from Sunder increased Penn State’s lead to six, 22-16. A PSU error and an Kehoe kill had the Buckeyes within four, 22-18, but Penn State was back up by six after an Ohio State service error and a Goas ace. A Nittany Lion service error delayed the inevitable before a Mars kill gave Penn State a 25-19 third set win.
The Nittany Lions then dominated the fourth and final set taking a 7-3 lead to start. Ohio State called a timeout, but Penn State continued on a roll using a Sunder kill, two blocks and an OSU error for a ten-point advantage, 13-3. A service error and an Ohio State kill cut off Penn State’s run momentarily, but a 4-1 Nittany Lion run had Penn State leading by 11, 17-6. Kevin Heine pounded a kill for the Buckeyes before a Comfort ace and Olsen kill moved Penn State up by 13, 20-7. Klanac tallied a kill for the Buckeyes, but Sunder and Comfort followed suit to make it 22-8 in favor of Penn State. Shawn Sangrey recorded one final kill for the Buckeyes before a Turko ace and a Sunder kill gave Penn State a convincing 25-9 fourth set triumph.
OSU’s Sangrey recorded a team-high 16 points with 15 kills (.296) and two assist blocks. Klanac added 10.5 point for the Buckeyes with 10 kills (.261) and one assist block while Kehoe collected 31 assists. Defensively, Sangrey and Jason Tobkin each had seven digs.
In honor of All-American Matt Anderson’s father Mike Anderson, who passed away unexpectedly in 2010, the Penn State volleyball family has chosen to honor one Nittany Lion at the conclusion of each match in honor of Mike. Mars was named the Mike Anderson Player of the Game for his efforts against the Buckeyes. Mars and Del Valle, both seniors, were honored prior to the match for their contributions to the Nittany Lion program.
The Nittany Lions earn a split of the home and away two-match series with the Buckeyes with OSU’s 3-0 win earlier this season.