Story Courtesy of Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 9 Penn State downed Mount Olive 3-1 Friday night in the 2018 season opener behind double-digit kills from Jalen Penrose, Aidan Albrecht and Calvin Mende.
“I think tonight is pretty much January volleyball,” said head coach Mark Pavlik.
"All in all, not a bad way to start the new year, we got a ways to go but we've got time to get there," Pavlik continued.
Calvin Mende led the way for the Nittany Lions against the Trojans, finishing the night with 15 kills hitting at a .667 clip - a game-high. Jalen Penrose and Aidan Albrecht each finished with 10 kills and an assist, while Penrose also contributed four aces from his new position in the middle of the court.
"It's not an easy adjustment," said Penrose. "But having these guys behind me and having faith in me has been the backbone of my success."
"You look at his stat-line," said Pavlik. "He had 10 kills, four aces, two blocks. He scored 16-points for us, he had two hitting errors, he had five service errors and that was it. Seven-points for the other team, he's plus-nine, that's what we need from the guys on the court... and I think we're able to use the strengths that Jalen brings to the court and help him use those in more advantageous situations."
Mathew McLaren led the Nittany Lions totaling nine digs on the night, while Kevin Gear posted four blocks with the team totaling four blocks as a team.
Luke Braswell recorded 39 assists and registered three kills as well hitting a perfect 1.000%.
Mount Olive took the opening set 25-23 giving the Trojans their first set win over Penn State in the 11-game series dating back to 2005.
The Nittany Lions knotted the match at 1-1 heading into the break led by Albrecht and Mende who each posted five kills in the set.
A 25-12 set three, followed by a 25-14 set four gave Penn State the 3-1 win improving the all-time record versus Mount Olive to 11-0.
Calvin Mende and Luke Braswell were named Mike Anderson Co-Players of the Game for their performances against the Trojans.
Penn State will return to the court Saturday night in south gym at 7 p.m. as they face Alderson-Broaddus.