Penn State were the most successful team in the 2022 First Point Volleyball Foundation Collegiate Challenge as the Nittany Lions were the only one of the four men's teams competing in the event to go undefeated in their two matches at the Austin Convention Center.
Penn State dominate First Point Collegiate Challenge
The Nittany Lions were the only team to win both of their matches in Austin
Published 07:16, 23 Jan 2023
With victories over Pepperdine on Friday and Stanford on Saturday, Penn State, who are ranked fourth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), have now won their first six matches of the season, and have their best start since 2009, when they won ten in a row.
The Nittany Lions had a strong start against Pepperdine, who are ranked fifth, on Friday, winning 3-1 (26-24, 25-18, 19-25, 25-14) in the opening match of the tournament. Senior opposite John Kerr led Penn State with 23 points (20 kills, three aces), while Polish junior outside hitter Michal Kowal added 18 (11 kills, four aces, three blocks).
The two were in great form again on Saturday, leading Penn State to another four-set (25-18, 25-17, 20-25, 25-23) victory, this time against Stanford. Kerr produced 18 points (15 kills, two aces, one block) and Kowal tallied another 17 (14 kills, two blocks, one ace).
The second match on Friday saw Stanford come from behind to top Lewis University 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-20, 25-22) in Austin. Freshman outside hitter Theo Snoey was pivotal in Stanford’s triumph, generating 25 points (21 kills, two blocks, two aces) for the Cardinals – senior outside hitter Will Rottman fired another 15 (12 kills, two aces, one block).
Pepperdine secured their only victory in the tournament on Saturday against Lewis, topping the Flyers 3-1 (25-21, 29-31, 25-18, 25-20). The Waves counted on a big performance from graduate student outside hitter Jaylen Jasper, who registered 25 points with 23 kills and two blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Joe Deluzio followed with 16 (15 kills, one ace).
The matches were part of an event held by the First Point Volleyball Foundation, which aims to support the development of boys’ and men’s volleyball in the United States, that also featured a showcase and a clinic.