No. 7 Penn State rallies by Harvard
Nittany Lions overcome two-set deficit to capture 28th EIVA title
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Seventh-ranked Penn State (20-3, 13-0 EIVA) clinched its 28th EIVA title with a come-from-behind 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-13, 25-21, 15-10) victory against Harvard on Saturday afternoon.
Joe Sunder was the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Game after tallying 17 kills .481 hitting with a team-best 11 digs. Nick Goodell led the Lions with 22 kills, while Nick Turko posted 10. Edgardo Goas paced Penn State with 59 assists, while Turko recorded three aces. Connor Curry and Peter Russell tied for second on the team with nine digs apiece. Aaron Russell led the Nittany Lions in blocking with three.
The Nittany Lions registered a .319 hitting percentage, while posting 67 kills, seven aces, 44 digs and 5.0 total team blocks. Harvard hit .221 against Penn State and totaled 45 kills, three aces, 41 digs and 7.5 team blocks.
The first set started out close, but Penn State grabbed a 6-3 lead after three consecutive Harvard errors. Despite two kills from Harvard's Nick Madden, three Penn State kills and a Turko stuff had the Nittany Lions leading 10-5. After a Harvard timeout, the Crimson embarked on a 7-3 run to close the gap to 13-12, and force the Nittany Lions to take a timeout of their own.
Harvard followed with a 4-0 run to take a 16-13 lead and send Penn State back to the bench. The Nittany Lions fought to within 17-16, but was unable to take control. Harvard used a 6-1 run to reach set point at 24-18. A Goodell kill and a Crimson error prolonged the set momentarily until a PSU service error ended the set in Harvard's favor 25-20.
Neither team was able to take control early in the second frame until midway through when a 4-1 run by Harvard had the Crimson leading 14-11. After a Penn State timeout, the Nittany Lions continued to trail by at least two points until a 3-0 run had the Lions within 21-20. Harvard called a timeout and slowed the Nittany Lions enough to allow them just one final point. The Crimson closed out the set with a 4-0 run for a 25-21 win.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third frame. The Crimson managed to stay within four at 10-6, but a Turko kill and a Harvard error moved Penn State ahead 12-6. A PSU error and a Harvard ace closed the Crimson deficit to 13-9.
Penn State used an 8-2 run, which included a yellow card issued to a Harvard player, to take a commanding 21-11 lead. The run came to an end on a service error by the Nittany Lions, but three consecutive Harvard errors had Penn State at set point, 24-12. The Crimson grabbed final point off a PSU service error before an attack error by Harvard gave Penn State a convincing 25-13 third-set victory.
Penn State took a 4-1 lead to begin the fourth stanza. Two kills from Harvard's Matt Jones moved the Crimson to within 5-3, but a Goodell kill and joint block by Turko and Sunder pushed Penn State ahead 7-3. Harvard closed the gap to 12-9, but soon after a 4-1 Nittany Lion run had Penn State with a six-point advantage at 17-11.
Three consecutive points by Harvard had the Crimson back within three at 17-14. Penn State called a timeout and continued to lead, although Harvard closed the gap to 22-20. Matt Jones tallied Harvard's final point before a Sunder putdown and a Crimson error gave Penn State a 25-21 win.
The Nittany Lions took a 3-1 lead, but the Crimson tied it up at 4-4 with a 3-0 run. Penn State answered with a 3-0 run of its own for a 7-4 lead to force a Harvard timeout. Turko pounded a kill to make it 8-5 and send the teams to the opposite side of the net.
The Crimson came within two twice with two Goodell kills moving Penn State back ahead by a 10-7 margin. After a furious rally Goodell spiked a huge kill to give the Lions an 11-7 lead. Harvard called a timeout and capitalized on a PSU error and a Madden kill to move within 11-9. The Nittany Lions used a timeout and closed out the set on a 4-1 run for a 15-10 win.