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Lions Wrap Up Regular Season With 3-1 Win Over Wilkes

Lions Wrap Up Regular Season With 3-1 Win Over Wilkes



4/10/2017 — ALTOONA, Pa. - Penn State Altoona men's volleyball concluded its regular season schedule on Monday night, defeating non-conference opponent Wilkes University 3-1 in the Adler Gym.

Wilkes (7-16) took some early momentum, winning the opening set 25-23. But the Lions (24-6) bounced back and controlled the match the rest of the way, winning the next three sets by scores of 25-17, 25-18, and 25-19.

After being recognized in a pre-match ceremony on his Senior Night, Jacob Byers (Level Green, PA/Penn Trafford) led the way for Penn State Altoona with 12 kills and four service aces to go along with four digs and one solo block. Daniel Downs (Reading, PA/Daniel Boone) posted 11 kills, two solo blocks, and one block assist. Brian Sheddy (Shrewsbury, PA/Susquehannock) finished with 10 kills, eight digs, and one solo block.

Justin Bannister (Willow Hill, PA/Fannett-Metal) recorded eight kills and a solo block, and Brandon Arentz (Mount Wolf, PA/Northeastern) had seven kills, nine digs, and a solo block.

Billy Smith (Pittsburgh, PA/Upper St. Clair) led the Lions in assists with 23 to go along with four digs. Tommy Kisick (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) added 19 assists and one block assist.

Waldemar Rivera-Berrios (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico/Samuel Clemens) led all players in digs with 23.

Penn State Altoona led 23-21 in the first set before Wilkes overtook the Lions. Two attack errors by the home squad tied the game, and after a timeout, the Colonels' John Pietrzyk reeled off consecutive aces to give the visitors the win in the first set.

The Lions responded soundly in the second set, jumping out to a nine-point lead, 16-7. Five of Penn State Altoona's first 16 points came courtesy of kills from Byers. Later in the set, back-to-back kills by Sheddy made it 24-15, and a Wilkes service error accounted for the Lions' 25th point.

In the third set, Wilkes pulled to within one, 6-5, following Mike Morrison's kill. But Penn State Altoona proceeded to score five straight points and increase its lead to 11-5. Later, kills from Downs, Sheddy, and Arentz made it 14-7. Bannister, Arentz, and Downs tallied kills to keep their team up by seven, 18-11, and Arentz's kill finished off Wilkes in the set.

Penn State Altoona came from behind to win the fourth set, overcoming deficits of 10-7 and 12-9. After Byers' kill brought his team to within 13-12, two straight Wilkes attack errors put the Lions in front. With the set tied 17-17, Sheddy's kill, a Wilkes error, and Downs' ace gave Penn State Altoona a three-point lead. After a timeout by the visitors, the Lions scored three more points in a row on two attack errors and a kill from Bannister. Sheddy's kill and another Wilkes attack error ended the set and the match in favor of the Lions.

Lions volleyball now looks ahead to the postseason, as Penn State Altoona will play host to the 2017 North Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament this Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15.

The playoff tournament gets underway with semifinal round action on Friday at 4:00 p.m., when the #1 Penn State Altoona squad plays #4 SUNY Polytechnic Institute. At approximately 6:30 p.m., #2 Lancaster Bible College and #3 Wells College will face off against each other.

Friday's winners will then play each other for the NEAC title on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The NEAC champion will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Notes: In addition to Byers being recognized before Monday's match as part of the Lions' Senior Night, the Penn State Altoona team was presented with the 2017 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship award. The squad achieved its first-ever AMCC title earlier this season by finishing atop that conference's regular season standings with a perfect 8-0 record.

Photo (by Joel Nelson): Penn State Altoona senior Jacob Byers winds up for a hit during the Lions' 3-1 win over Wilkes University on Monday evening in the Adler Gym.

TAGS: men's volleyball