LORETTO, Pa. – For the third time in four matches, the Saint Francis men's volleyball team came away with a victory over Penn State. SFU held off a PSU rally to win 3-2 on Tuesday night at DeGol Arena. The Red Flash prevailed 25-14, 25-20, 18-25, 21-25 and 15-10.
Tuesday's victory marked SFU's first-ever victory against PSU at DeGol Arena. The last time Penn State lost in DeGol Arena was against Princeton in 1997 in the EIVA Championship Match.
"Thanks to the fans at DeGol Arena, the Rascals were great again. It was a good fight out of Penn State in sets three and fourth to comeback to force a fifth and deciding set. It was great to see our guys rise to the occasion and prevail in the fifth set," said head coach Mike Rumbaugh.
Saint Francis improves to 5-8 on the seasons and 1-3 in conference play, while Penn State drops to 8-5 and 3-1 in the EIVA.
Daniel Ford (Newtown, Pa./Council Rock North) finished the match with 43 assists, five digs, five aces and two blocks. Michael Fisher (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley (Pepperdine)) led the Flash with 16 kills, while Jeff Hogan (Northern Cambria, Pa./Northern Cambria) recorded 13. Keith Kegerreis (Chambersburg, Pa./Chambersburg) posted six blocks, while Gabe Woffindin (Allentown, Pa./William Allen) contributed with 12 digs.
Tied 2-2 entering the fifth-set, SFU took advantage of two PSU attack errors and kills from Stephen Braswell (Manchester, Pa./Northeastern) and Fisher to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Penn State would make it a four-point set after scoring three straight points to make it 12-8, and forced coach Rumbaugh to use his first timeout of the set. SFU would outscore PSU 3-2 down the stretch to take the set fifth set, 15-10.
Knotted up at 7-7 in the opening set, Saint Francis ripped off an 8-0 run; powered by two Fisher kills to take a 15-7 lead. The Red Flash never looked back in the set and claimed a 25-14 victory. Saint Francis held Penn State to a -.042 hitting percentage, while SFU hit .368.
A Kegerreis and Ford block allowed the Flash to take a 10-7 lead in the second set. The middle of the set would remain close, with both teams trading points, but a Evan Feltz (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) service ace would expand the SFU lead to 22-19. A Ford ace would give the Flash a 25-20 win.
Penn State raced out to a 10-5 lead to open the third set. Fisher added back-to-back kills to cut the SFU deficit to 11-8. The Nittany Lions rattled off three straight points to take a 14-8 lead. SFU scored three unanswered points to a force a Penn State timeout with the Nittany Lions leading the set, 23-16. Penn State took the third set 25-18.
PSU jumped out a 4-0 lead in the fourth set. Saint Francis would hang tough, getting back-to-back aces from Ford to make it 15-14 in favor of Penn State. The Red Flash would come all the way back to tie the score at 16-16. A Woffindin dig would lead to a Fisher kill to knot the score at 20-20. SFU took its first lead of the set at 21-20, but PSU would go a 5-0 run to close out the set, 25-21.
Saint Francis returns to action this weekend against Sacred Heart and Harvard starting on Friday with match tine set for 7 p.m.