University Park, Pa. – Penn State men's volleyball head coach Mark Pavlik earned his 600th-career win as the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions swept Sacred Heart 3-0 to win their 10th match in a row Saturday afternoon at Rec Hall.
Penn State (16-2, 13-1 EIVA) has now won 22 consecutive sets and are just two wins away from clinching the EIVA regular season title and being the host for the 2021 EIVA semifinals and championship with four matches remaining in the regular season.
With his 600th victory, Pavlik joins an elite group with four other men's volleyball head coaches to have reached the milestone: UCLA's Al Scates, Ball State's Don Shondell, Ohio State's Pete Hanson, and Stevens' Patrick Dorywalksi.
"I start thinking about everybody who has gone through and been a part of those 600 wins," said Pavlik when reflecting on the milestone. "From players to sport administrators to administration, I'm just very grateful to have had the great people that have helped us get to this level."
Penn State controlled the match from beginning to end with a variety of players in and out of the lineup. 11 different Nittany Lions registered a kill in the match, led by sophomores Jack Shampine with eight and Tim Herget with seven.
As a team, Penn State hit .351 for the match, including .619 in set one which set the Nittany Lions out on a blistering pace. PSU used a 9-2 run to lead 14-5 and built on to that margin as the set continued, eventually winning 25-12 after a rare libero kill by Will Bantle.
Penn State's defense created an impenetrable wall in the second frame that led to six team blocks, include a solo and four assists for Brett Wildman. Two of those blocks for Wildman sparked a five-point run to give PSU the margin it needed at 12-5, eventually leading to the Nittany Lions second set win at 25-17.
Shampine took over early in the third set with a kill to tie the match at 3-3 before starting his own service run of nine-straight points for Penn State, which included a pair of aces for the sophomore opposite hitter. That lead proved to be enough for the Nittany Lions as they won the third game 25-18.
GAME NOTES AND STATS
Penn State's 9.0 team blocks held Sacred Heart to a -.041 hitting percentage for the afternoon, the lowest mark Penn State's defense has forced an opponent into. PSU's 9.0 blocks are its most in a three-game match this season.
Wildman's double-digit kill match streak ended at eight in a row with seven in the match, but his six blocks did set a single-match career high.
Penn State's 10-match win streak is its longest since 2016 (10) and its 22-straight set wins is its longest streak since 2012 (29).
Penn State heads to George Mason for a two-match EIVA series April 2-3.