State College, PA - In a sloppy match that saw
a combined .179 hitting percentage, it was No. 9 Penn State that
outlasted the Mastodons, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22.
Senior Darryl Shank tallied 16 kills and a .250 attack percentage to go with nine digs, leading the IPFW attack.
The Mastodons stormed ahead to an early 12-8 lead in the opening frame after a kill by middle blocker Corey Frain. Their lead dissipated to a tie-score after a three-point Penn State rally to bring the score to 14-14. An over-the-top kill by sophomore Anthony Randolph gave IPFW their final lead at the set at 15-14 before the Nittany Lions offense sparked their attack.
A 7-2 Penn State run pushed the score to 21-17 before the veteran PSU squad closed out an opening set victory, 25-19.
Again in set number two, the Mastodons jumped out to an early lead, this time at 6-3. A 4-0 run pushed swung the advantage in favor of Penn State at 10-7 later in the set before the set went neck-and-neck. IPFW battled back to even at 15-15 before Penn State's quick attack stormed ahead to a 21-18 lead.
A block by Darryl Shank and Corey Frain and a pair of Nittany Lion attack errors gave IPFW the late lead at 22-21. Trading points back-and-forth, the Nittany Lions would take a 24-23, set-point lead before an IPFW attack error closed the second set, 25-23.
Maintaining a steady two- and three-point lead through the early going, the two sets would meet tied at 15-15 after a Phil Peterson kill. A three-point Penn State rally, topped off by three-man block in the middle gave the Nittany Lions a convincing 20-17 lead late. Two consecutive IPFW service errors brought the action to match-point and, after a valiant Mastodon effort, the Nittany Lions closed out the match with a cross-court kill by Jace Olson.
Junior Dan Mader tallied 30 assists in leading an IPFW offensive outing that hit just .163 overall to the Nittany Lions' .196 clip. As a team, IPFW posted 17 block assists in stifling the Nittany Lion offense. They were led in the category by eight stops by Corey Frain.
The match will be re-broadcast, in full, on Tuesday (Mar. 22) at 4:00 PM on the Big Ten Network.
The loss drops IPFW to 11-8 overall on the year. They return to action next Friday (Mar. 25) as the Loyola Ramblers visit Fort Wayne for a MIVA showdown as IPFW head coach Arnie Ball goes for career win number 500. First serve in the match is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center.