July 20, 2024
No. 4 Men’s Volleyball Stays Unbeaten with 3-1 Win Over No. 8 Stanford

AUSTIN, Texas – No. 4 Penn State men’s volleyball beat a top-10 opponent for the second time in as many nights Saturday, recording a 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 20-25, 25-23) win over No. 8 Stanford at the Austin Convention Center. The Nittany Lions improved to 6-0 on the season, while the Cardinal dropped to 5-1.
Penn State won both if its matches at the First Point Collegiate Challenge, adding Saturday’s victory to its 3-1 win over No. 5 Pepperdine on Friday. The Lions are off to their best start since the 2009 team opened the season with 10 straight wins.
The Lions hit .313 and have now hit over .300 in each of their last five matches. Toby Ezeonu was dominant in the middle with 10 kills on .692 hitting. Michal Kowal hit .345 with 14 kills. Leading the team in kills again was John Kerr with 15, while Brett Wildman added eight. Cole Bogner finished with 46 assists.
Wildman nearly posted his first double-double of the season as he led the team in digs with 10. Kerr also came close to a double-double with his eight digs. Ryan Merk also had eight digs.
Eight Penn State blocks helped hold Stanford to .242 hitting. The Lions have held each of their first six opponents this season under .300 hitting. Will Rottman, a first-team All-American last season, was solid in a losing effort, finishing with 14 kills on .480 hitting.
Penn State improved to 7-5 in the all-time series with Stanford.
Set 1
The teams battled to a 9-9 tie before Penn State started to pull away with a 4-0 run with Wildman giving Stanford fits with his serve. He had an ace during the run and had another serve that resulted in an over pass that Kerr sent back for a kill. Kerr had kills on three of the four points. The Cardinal only got as close as three the rest of the way. Kerr had six kills, while Wildman racked up three kills, two aces and six digs.
Set 2
Kerr had four kills on five swings and Penn State hit .500 behind 10 assists from Bogner as Penn State cruised to a 25-17 win in the second set. The Lions never trailed after taking a 3-2 lead. The Lions started to pull away with a 4-0 run that gave them a 12-7 lead. Ezeonu had a kill and an ace during the run. The Lions again managed to keep their distance from the Cardinal, leading by at least four points the rest of the way.
Set 3
Stanford hit .393 and received four kills apiece from Rottman and Ethan Hill on its way to a 25-20 win in set three. Kerr had four kills for Penn State, while Bogner tallied 13 assists. The Cardinal scored the first point and led the rest of the way.
Set 4
The final set was by far the most competitive of the night as Penn State clinched the win with a 25-23 score. The Lions trailed 21-19 but scored back-to-back points out of a timeout. Kowal had a kill and then tied the score with a block alongside Ezeonu. The teams traded the next two points before Ezeonu gave the Lions a 23-22 lead with a kill. Kerr then came through with a clutch ace to give his team a chance at match point. Stanford staved off the first attempt, but Kowal followed with a kill to secure the win.
Career Highs
John Kerr – digs (8)
Up Next
Penn State will play a top-10 opponent for the third-straight match when it hosts No. 3 Long Beach State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Beach is 4-0 and hasn’t dropped a set this season.