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Lions Fall 3-0 to Hunter in NCAA Tournament

Lions Fall 3-0 to Hunter in NCAA Tournament



4/22/2017 — NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Penn State Altoona men's volleyball team saw its season come to an end on Saturday afternoon, when the Lions suffered a 3-0 loss to Hunter College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at the Hunter Sportsplex.

Hunter (28-6, 8-0 CUNYAC), the eighth seed in the NCAA bracket and the ninth-ranked team nationally, swept the match 25-17, 25-18, 25-13. The Hawks advance to face Springfield College, which is the tournament's top seed and the number one ranked team in the nation, in the next round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, April 28.

Penn State Altoona (26-7, 15-1 NEAC), which was the ninth seed in the bracket, is eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with the loss.

Hunter used a strong presence at the net to neutralize Penn State Altoona's attack while operating efficiently with their own offense. The Hawks totaled 13 blocks as a team, and they committed just 12 attack errors while hitting at a .330 clip.

"Our game plan was to try and go over top of Hunter's smaller setter, hit the ball down line, and run our offense through the pins," said Penn State Altoona head coach Phil Peterman. "But Hunter was able to reach over and block our pin hitters."

The Lions' Bradley Colditz (Upper St. Clair, PA/Upper St. Clair) tied for the match-high kill total with nine, and he added five digs and one block assist. Daniel Downs (Reading, PA/Daniel Boone) had six kills, four digs, one solo block, and one block assist.

Brandon Arentz (Mount Wolf, PA/Northeastern) finished with four kills, four digs, one solo block, and one block assist. Jacob Byers (Level Green, PA/Penn Trafford) also had four kills to go along with one service ace and one block assist. Justin Bannister (Willow Hill, PA/Fannett-Metal) had a team-high three total blocks, recording two block assists and one solo block.

Tommy Kisick (Latrobe, PA/Greater Latrobe) had a team-high 11 assists and also contributed one block assist, one kill, and one ace. Billy Smith (Pittsburgh, PA/Upper St. Clair) had eight assists and seven digs.

Waldemar Rivera-Berrios (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico/Samuel Clemens) tied with Smith for the team-high in digs, accumulating seven digs.

In the first set, Penn State Altoona stayed within striking distance early. Byers and Downs teamed up on a block before Downs recorded a solo block and a kill to help keep the Lions within one point, 9-8, of Hunter's lead. But the Hawks used a 6-1 run to increase their lead to 15-9. The home team maintained its comfortable lead throughout the remainder of the set.

The Lions battled again in the second set, keeping things close until Hunter pulled away with another run. A solo block from Arentz, along with a combination block by Bannister and Arentz, gave Penn State Altoona its first two points of the set. Later, kills by Downs and Colditz, as well as Bannister's solo block, cut Hunter's lead to 11-10. But an 8-3 run by the Hawks made it 19-13, and the home team carried the momentum to a seven-point win in the second set.

Hunter opened the third set by scoring seven of the first 10 points. Ahead 16-10 later in the set, the Hawks reeled off six straight points to up their advantage to 22-10, en route to a 12-point win in the third set to clinch the match.

"I kept telling the team to not give up. I knew that if we could just hang around a little, we'd be fine," said Peterman. "But we just gave up one too many runs in the middle of each game."

Despite the season-ending loss, the 2017 season was a banner year for Penn State Altoona men's volleyball. The Lions set program records for overall wins (26), North Eastern Athletic Conference wins (15), and Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference wins (8). Penn State Altoona won its first-ever NEAC and AMCC championships, and the Lions' NCAA Tournament appearance was also the program's first.

TAGS: men's volleyball