St. Francis ends Penn State’s 17-year reign as EIVA champions

The 17-year run for No. 9/10 Penn State as EIVA champions is over.

No. 15 St. Francis defeated Penn State 27-29, 28-26, 25-22, 25-23 in the EIVA Tournament semifinals on Thursday in University Park, Pennsylvania, for the Nittany Lions’ first conference tournament loss since 1998.

Penn State, which will play host to the upcoming NCAA Tournament, is projected to not earn one of the two NCAA Tournament at-large bids and will miss the tournament for the first time in 18 years, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.

All-conference outside attacker Jeff Hogan in the upset victory had a match-high 22 kills. In addition, All-EIVA middle attacker Mike Marshman added 11 kills on a .625 attack percentage and led all players with six blocks.

St. Francis out-hit Penn State .275 to .229, including having a match-best .448 attack percentage in the fourth game to help secure the program’s first trip to the EIVA Tournament finals.

The Red Flashes had seven aces with outside attacker Xavier Krause having a match-high three aces. Marshman also had two aces and a game-winning ace to win the second game in overtime.

Outside attacker Chris Nugent, the 2016 Co-EIVA Player of the Year, led Penn State with both 20 kills and 12 digs.

This is the second time this season that St Francis upset Penn State. The Red Flashes defeated the Nittany Lions in March for Penn State’s first conference regular season home loss since 1998 — the same year it last lost in the EIVA Tournament.

St. Francis will advance to play George Mason in the EIVA Tournament finals on Saturday in University Park, Pennsylvania. George Mason in its semifinal match swept Harvard to reach the conference tournament finals for the second straight season.

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