FAIRFAX, Virginia – The George Mason men’s volleyball team falls to #10 Penn State in a well-fought EIVA match. The RAC was packed for George Mason men’s volleyball alumni night with 875 fans attending.
Penn State won with set scores of 25-19, 25-22, 24-26, and 26-24. With tonight’s loss, the Patriots move to 6-8 on the season, while Penn State improves their record to 13-3.
The first set really set the tone for the entire match because it was close all the way to the end. There were 11 ties and seven lead changes in this first set. The Patriots grabbed their first lead at 10-9 after a service error by Aaron Russell. However, after the Nittany Lions were down by two, Penn State scored nine points in a row to get a large lead (24-18). Penn State went on to win the set 25-20.
The second set was another close one and included 11 ties again. There were also four lead changes. After going down by three early in the set, the Patriots rattled off four points in a row thanks in part to kills from Radoslav Popov, and Hunter Stevens (8-7). After battling through the entire set, the Nittany Lions had set point at 24-22 when Peter Russell got a kill to end it.
The third set finished with 10 ties and three lead changes. It was another extremely close set; however, Mason looked in control as they grabbed a five-point lead at 20-15. Penn State fought back and won three points in a row after an attack error by the Patriots. The Green and Gold stopped Penn State’s comeback bid in its tracks and went on to win and force a fourth set (26-24).
Penn State won the first two points of the fourth and final set and didn’t look back from there. This set was extremely close and kept within a three-point lead the entire way. The Patriots had a chance to force a fifth set when the game was tied at 24; however, kills by Nick Goodell and Matt Seifert ended the match 26-24.
Radoslav Popov had a career night, finishing with a match-best 24 kills and only five errors. Paco Velez and Christian Malias also finished in double digit kills, finishing with 11, and 12 respectively. Jackson Carr dished out a match-high 50 assists and also added eight digs. Meanwhile, Christian Malias added 11 digs on defense to lead the Green and Gold.
The Nittany Lions were led by Nick Goodell, who finished with a team-high 16 kills. Taylor Hammond also dished out a team-best 49 assists. Meanwhile, Aaron Russell finished with a match-best 13 digs to lead Penn State on defense.
Up Next: The Patriots host Harvard on Friday, March 7 and Sacred Heart on Saturday, March 8. Both matches will be held at the RAC.