Penn State picked up its first win of the season, outlasting Southern California in five sets in the AVCA Showcase at Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
Behind 25 kills for freshman Cal Mende and 22 for senior Chris Nugent, the No. 13 Nittany Lions outlasted the Trojans 30-32, 25-14, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11.
“It was a grittiness that I think we’ve been looking for over the past 16 months or so,” head coach Mark Pavlik said after the victory.
Mende, in just his second career match, turned in his effort on .525 hitting to go with five blocks and four digs. Luke Braswell directed the offense to a .371 hitting day with his 62 assists, Aidan Albrecht added 13 kills and five blocks and Royce Clemens picked up 14 digs.
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Lucas Yoder had a huge day for the Trojans with 33 kills on .509 hitting.
Penn State, which won the blocking battle 14-9, next hits the court Friday at Ball State.