No. 13 Penn State used an efficient offense, especially from Chris Nugent, to put away Princeton and advance to the EIVA championship match.
Nugent put down 15 kills on .560 hitting, making just one error, in the Nittany Lions’ 25-23, 25-19, 25-23 victory Thursday at Rec Hall.
“Our outsides (hitters) did a great job of getting good swings in tough situations,” coach Mark Pavlik told the media at Rec Hall. “Our passing really allowed us to run that offense.”
Penn State (20-10) will meet St. Francis in the finals at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Red Flash knocked off Sacred Heart in the night’s first semifinal in four sets.
Nugent also had three aces. Cal Mende added nine kills and five blocks, and Aidan Albrecht had eight kills. Matt Callaway posted five blocks, Royce Clemens recorded seven digs, and Luke Braswell notched 36 assists and six digs. Braswell guided the offense to a .413 hitting night.
“If we do what we’re capable of doing,” Pavlik said, “we will force a team to play at a high level for a long time to beat us.”
Kendall Ratter and Parker Dixon paced the Tigers (12-14) with a dozen kills apiece.
After a slow start over much of the first set, Penn State also dominated the block 10.5-4.5.
“We served well,” Braswell said of the key to the team’s blocking dominance. “They got put in a two-pass and then their options get limited to one or two passers, and it lets our middles close the block and put up a good block against their hitters.”