UNIVERSITY PARK, CENTRE COUNTY - The fifth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team improved to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the EIVA with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-20) win against George Mason. Redshirt senior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) was named the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Game.
Redshirt freshman Nick Goodell (Ambridge, Pa.) and Sunder led the Nittany Lions with a match-high 13 kills. Sunder hit .500, while Goodell hit .423. Redshirt senior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 30 assists and led the team with nine digs. Goodell had a team-best three aces and freshman Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) had five total blocks.
Penn State hit .316 with 37 kills, five aces, 26 digs and 10.5 total team blocks. The Nittany Lions held the Patriots to .037 hitting with 28 kills, one ace, 23 digs and 7.0 team blocks.
The first set was close until midway through when Penn State embarked on a 10-point run for a 21-11 lead. George Mason called two timeouts during the run, but neither fazed the Nittany Lions. Joe Norton pounded two straight kills for the Patriots, but Sunder prevented a run with a kill of his own. Two George Mason errors and a Sunder ace ended set one in Penn State's favor, 25-13.
Penn State opened the second frame with a 6-2 lead. The Patriots came within three, 10-7, but a 5-1 Penn State run had the Nittany Lions with a seven-point lead, 15-8. Penn State maintained at least a five-point lead until a 5-1 run by the Patriots moved George Mason within two, 20-18. Penn State called a timeout, but George Mason's momentum continued to push the Patriots ahead as three consecutive points had the score knotted at 22-22. However, two George Mason errors and a Sunder kill secured set two for Penn State, 25-22.
The third set began much like first with neither team developing a strong lead early. Nearing the midpoint of the set, Penn State had a two- point lead, 12-10. The Nittany Lions' lead increased to three, 16-13 before a 4-0 run by the Patriots had George Mason with a slim 17-16 lead. Penn State called a timeout and a GMU error tied it up at 17 all. The score tied once more before back -to-back kills from Aaron Russell gave Penn State a two-point cushion, 20-18. The Patriots managed two final points from a kill by Hunter Stevens and a PSU error. It proved too little as a Goodell kill and three Patriot errors closed out the set for Penn State, 25-20.
Penn State is back in action on March 3 against Ohio State. Match action is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.