For Second Straight Night No. 12 Tigers Take First Set But Fall To Ranked Opponent
Stockton, Calif. – Pacific men's volleyball concluded the Ken and Dave Dunlap Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 28 against No. 8 Penn State. As like last night's match the No 12 Tigers would take the first set, but fell to the Nittany Lions 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17). The loss dropped Pacific to 3-5, and improved Penn State to 5-1.
Leading Pacific was senior Florian Gornik with 13 kills while hitting .345. Junior Taylor Hughes and sophomore Adam Troy would add 12 kills apiece and hit .235 and .320, respectively. Senior Sean Daley collected a team-leading four blocks on the day.
The Tigers and Nittany Lions played a thrilling opening set, as Pacific came out on top 25-23. The score was even 20 times throughout the set, and remained within two points the entire game. However, the Tigers were able to gain the advantage when the score was knotted at 22, and Gornik and junior Christian Ahlin collected back-to-back kills. After a Penn State timeout and point, Gornik would end the set with a mighty strike; one of his four kills in the game. Leading Pacific in the opening frame was Hughes and Troy who combined for ten kills. Junior setter Patrick Tunnell played a flawless first game, collecting 17 of his 48 assists for the Tiger attack. On the opposite side of the pins, Daley and Tunnell each recorded two blocks. As a team, Pacific hit .382 with only one error.
The second set was more trying for the Tigers as they fell, 25-17. Pacific was within a deuce of the Nittany Lions with the score at 11-9, but Penn State grabbed control of the set with a 6-1 run. The Tigers could not overcome the offensive surge despite a four-kill frame from Hughes.
The third game was just as close as the opening, but the Tigers dropped the set, 25-23, despite hitting .419. Pacific would show resilience in the frame when they trailed 17-14 before an offensive burst of four straight points gave the Tigers a one-point advantage. The sequence included a Daley finisher, then an Ahlin kill, a service ace from Dylan Walker and concluded with a Gornik strike. Gornik would finish the set with a team-high five kills, with Tunnell picking up 15 assists.
The fourth set was similar to the second with the Tigers struggling to find offensive rhythm. With the score tied at four, the Nittany Lions would rally off four straight winners and never look back. Tunnell added seven assists in the final frame, while sophomore Javier Caceres collected 16 digs for the match.
Leading Penn State was Nick Goodell with 17 kills while hitting .382. Goodell and Nick Turko would combine for five blocks apiece.
The Tigers return home to the friendly confines of the Alex G. Spanos Center for a pair of matches against Hawaii on Feb. 2 and 3. The matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.