Redshirt junior Nick Goodell and junior Aaron Russell fueled the offense with double digit performances. Goodell notched his fifth consecutive match with double figures, tallying 11 kills to go along with five digs and one ace. Russell followed closely behind with 10 kills on .400 hitting, adding a team-high three aces, three digs and three blocks.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Seifert led the blocking unit with a team-high four blocks, while also posting six kills on .556 hitting. Redshirt junior Connor Curry registered a squad-best eight digs.
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hammond paced the Nittany Lions to a .360 hitting clip, dishing out 31 assists. Overall, Penn State out-hit the Highlanders .360-.080, limiting NJIT to less than .191 hitting in each set.
Tied up at 7-all in the first set after some early back and forth action, Penn State used a 6-1 streak featuring a pair of kills from Russell to take control of a five-point lead, 13-8. Battling back, the Highlanders managed to trim the gap to five, 15-10, but PSU continued the balanced attack, putting together a 7-2 run to push the lead to double digits, 22-12.
NJIT attempted to spark some momentum with a kill, 22-13, but a Highlander error and solo stuff from Seifert lifted the Nittany Lions to set point, 24-14. An NJIT error cut off the attempt, as the Nittany Lions wrapped up a 25-14 win in set one for an early advantage.
Trailing by two, 7-5, in set two, PSU constructed a 4-1 streak to move up by one, 9-8. The Highlanders quickly tallied two points to get back on top, 10-9, but the Nittany Lions followed with a kill from Goodell and a block from Seifert and Aaron to make it 11-10. NJIT continued to fight, using a 3-1 spurt to remain ahead, 13-12.
Regrouping, Penn State used a 6-2 stretch to pull away with a three-point advantage, 18-15. The Highlanders connected on a block to cut off the momentum, 18-16, but a pair of errors pushes PSU ahead by four, 20-16. Unable to settle into a rhythm, NJIT surged within one, 22-21, helped out by a 5-2 run, that forced PSU to call a timeout.
Following the break, the two teams traded service errors to keep it a one-point frame, 23-22, before Aaron pounded a kill to make it set point, 24-22. The Highlanders held off one attempt before redshirt freshman Matt Callaway pounded a kill to secure a 25-23 win in the second set.
Down by two in the third set, 10-8, Penn State used a 5-1 streak to capture a two-point lead, 13-11. Penn State answered with a 4-2 stretch that knotted the frame three times before the Nittany Lions cracked open a 15-all tie with an 8-1 run that vaulted Penn State ahead by as many as seven, 23-16.
A service error temporarily stopped the momentum, but a kill from Seifert and an ace from Aaron closed out a 25-17 win in the third set to complete the sweep.
Next up, the Nittany Lions return home to host the 2014 EIVA Tournament at home in Rec Hall April 24-26. Penn State headlines the event as the No. 1 overall seed in the four-team field featuring No. 2 Harvard, No. 3 Princeton and No. 4 George Mason.
---PSU Athletic Communications
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