April 5, 2013

No. 12 Penn State holds on for sweep of Lees-McRae

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --- Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) posted a squad-best nine kills to pace the Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team on Friday evening, as No. 12 Penn State University swept the Bobcats in non-conference play.

Penn State (18-6) won the match by scores of 25-15, 25-16, and 25-20, recording a hitting percentage of .388 in the contest while holding Lees-McRae (17-12) to a .111 clip on the attack. The Nittany Lions tallied 37 kills, 10 blocks, and five aces on the night, as Lees-McRae posted 26 smashes and 12 digs.

Ribas led the way for Lees-McRae with nine kills, as John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio) added seven smashes. Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) posted 20 assists and three digs, while Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) dug out four Penn State attacks.

Aaron Russell and Nick Goodell paced the Nittany Lions with 10 kills each, posting hitting percentages of .750 and .444, respectively. Scott Kegerreis and Kyle Mars both added seven smashes, as Taylor Hammond recorded a match-high 30 assists. Connor Curry and Ian Hendries tallied contest-bests of seven digs and four blocks, respectively.

Penn State jumped out to an early 12-6 lead in the first set before stretching the margin to 16-8 with a 4-2 spurt, which was capped by a solo block by Matt Seifert. The Nittany Lions would close out the set with a 7-3 run, claiming a 1-0 advantage in the match on a Russell kill.

The Bobcats battled back in the second, evening the tally at 11-11 following a Ribas smash before Penn State responded with a 13-3 surge, pushing Lees-McRae to set point on a kill from Goodell. Lees-McRae would fight off a pair of set points before Kegerreis closed out the frame for the Nittany Lions with a kill, giving Penn State a 2-0 lead in the contest.

Penn State carried the momentum into the third, claiming an early 13-7 advantage following a Bobcat miscue. Lees-McRae countered with a 6-4 spurt, trimming the margin to 17-13 on a smash by Lucas. The Bobcats continued to fight back over the next several minutes, cutting the lead to 21-18 following an ace from Ramirez before Penn State answered with four of the next six points to cap the set and the match.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the third-seeded Bobcats host sixth-seeded Belmont Abbey College in the quarterfinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament at 7 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -