Penn State Beats Princeton 3-1 in EIVA Opener

Story posted February 14, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Matt McClure

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA-- After a tough first set, the Penn State Nittany Lions won three straight sets to beat the Princeton Tigers 3-1, winning their first conference game of the 2020 campaign. Brett Wildman, Cal Fisher and Bobby Wilden combined for 40 kills to lead Penn State to victory.

In the first set, both teams looked sluggish, and Penn State couldn't overcome the dominant play of Parker Dixon. Dixon led the Tigers in the set with seven kills to give them a 25-20 set win. After the first set, Dixon slowed down vastly, finishing with only four more kills the rest of the match.

Princeton's energy level and fatigue set in as the game went along. Head coach Sam Shweisky believed his team's energy level wasn't where it usually is and was worried if Penn State started executing they could be in trouble.

"I was shocked we won the first set," said Shweisky. "Typically, our brand is supposed to be very upbeat and very energetic, and even in the first set where we managed to win, I didn't think the wheels were clicking, and I was nervous that if Penn State started to pick up its production something like that was going to happen."

However, in the second set, the Nittany Lions stormed back in highly competitive back-and-forth action and knotted it at one apiece in a 25-23 win. Service errors hurt the Tigers in the set, and the resurgent play of Wildman, who led the team with 17 kills, and Fisher, who was second on the team with 13 kills, was huge for the Nittany Lions. Penn State had ten kills and three blocks in the set compared to Princeton's 13 kills and four blocks, but the mental mistakes hurt the Tigers' chances to take a 2-0 lead.

Penn State completely flipped the switch in the third set, winning 25-20. It was the Wildman and Wilden show in this set. After both teams were trading points, Penn State pulled away. Wildman and Wilden both led the Nittany Lions in kills, and that was the main difference.

Wilden was implemented in the lineup in this set and had ten kills in the final two sets, which turned out to be a massive boost for the Nittany Lions.

"I was just trying to come in and bring some energy," said Wilden. "I knew I didn't have to do anything outrageous; I just needed to play like I know how and everything will take care of itself."

The Nittany Lions wrapped up the match in convincing fashion in the fourth set. Penn State won the set 25-19 and was in control from start to finish. After the win, Penn State's record moves to 5-6 on the season and 1-0 in EIVA conference play. With the loss, Princeton drops to 5-5 and 3-1 in conference play.

 

 

Matthew McClure is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism, to contact email mcm5964@psu.edu.