May 2, 2009


Courtesy Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The fifth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team captured its 21st EIVA Championship title with a three-game win over Juniata (30-25, 30-19, 30-21) Saturday night at Rec Hall in front of 2,157 fans to advance to the NCAA National Semifinals in Provo, Utah on Thursday, May 7. The Nittany Lions will now await their NCAA opponent, announced on ESPNews on Sunday, May 3 between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. ET. Ohio State swept Ball State in the MIVA Championship match to advance to its second consecutive NCAA semifinal. The MPSF title has yet to be determined.

With the win, Penn State now holds an overall record of 57-3 in the EIVA Championship tournament, with a 21-3 record in the EIVA Final dating back to the 1986 season. This will be the 14th NCAA appearance for the defending national champion Nittany Lions under head coach Mark Pavlik and the 24th overall for the program.

Penn State junior outside hitter Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the EIVA Championship and was joined on the all-tournament team by redshirt freshman outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.), sophomore libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) and senior middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) along with Saint Francis' Jordan Varee and Juniata's Evan Halteman and Matt Werle.

Junior middle hitter Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) led the Nittany Lions against the Eagles with 12 kills on an errorless 17 swings to hit .706 for the contest. Sunder collected 11 kills as senior opposite Ryan Sweitzer (Lancaster, Pa.) posted 10 kills. Price and Holt chipped in seven and six kills, respectively, as Penn State hit .396 for the match.

Redshirt freshman setter Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 40 assists as Del Valle notched his 16th double-digit dig match of the year with 13. Del Valle moved into first place on Penn State's all-time single season digs list (305) and he is the first player in Lion history to record more than 300 digs in a year. Price collected eight digs as Goas chipped in six. Penn State outdug Juniata, 35-23.

The Nittany Lions took the serving battle, recording eight aces, including a career-high-tying five by Price. Holt added to his career leading service ace total of 206 with one ace while Sweitzer and Sunder also posted one ace.

Penn State outblocked Juniata, 6.5 to 6.0, led by Sunder with four, Holt with three and Goas and Lipsitz with two apiece.

Zach Wanner led Juniata with 12 kills.

Juniata started the match out on fire, taking the 5-1 lead behind two kills and a block. Penn State kills from Price and Sweitzer halted the run and two Price aces swung the momentum to the Lions, putting them ahead 7-6. The game remained close, with a Holt and Sunder block giving Penn State the 12-9 lead and a Lipsitz kills making it 18-14. Kills from Sunder and Goas pushed the Lion lead to 21-18 but a Penn State service error and a Juniata solo block by Halteman pulled the Eagles within one at 21-20. The teams traded errors and kills from Lipsitz and Sweitzer along with a Juniata attack error pushed Penn State ahead 25-21. Another Sunder kill along with a Lipsitz and Sunder block made it 28-23 before a Holt kill ended the game, 30-25.

The second game started out close early on, with two Price kills and a Sunder put-away giving Penn State the 12-8 lead. A Lipsitz kill, a solo Sunder stuff and a Goas and Holt block pushed the Lion lead to 18-12 and forced an Eagle timeout. A Goas kill made it 20-15 and a Penn State triple block by Sunder, Lipsitz and Sweitzer gave the Nittany Lions the 25-17 advantage. Kills from Lipsitz, Holt and Sunder aided Penn State in claming the stanza, 30-19.

A Halteman and Vrooman block put Juniata up 11-10 in the third game before a Lipsitz kill sparked a 4-0 Penn State run to give the Lions the 14-11 lead. A Price kill made it 16-12 before several Juniata errors and a Lipsitz kill put Penn State up 22-17. Sunder and Lipsitz put-aways extended the Lions lead to 25-19 and a Holt kill pushed the lead to 26-21 before a Goas and Holt block ended the game, 30-21.

Penn State, Ohio State, the MPSF tournament champion and an at-large team determined by the NCAA men's volleyball committee will square off in the NCAA National Collegiate Semifinals, to be held on Thursday, May 7 in Provo, Utah at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. MT (9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET), with the national championship match played at 5 p.m. MT (7:00 p.m. ET) on Saturday, May 9 live on ESPN2.