The youth stepped up and delivered for No. 13 Penn State in its finale at the AVCA Showcase.
Freshman opposite Calvin Mende had a match-high 25 kills on a .525 attack percentage as Penn State beat USC 30-32, 25-24, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11 on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Along with Mende, the Nittany Lions had two players finish with double-digit kills. Preseason All-American outside attacker had 22 kills on a .395 attack percentage, while outside attacker Aiden Albrecht added 13 kills.
Freshman setter Luke Braswell guided the Penn State offense to out-hit USC .371 to .308, including having more than .350 attack percentage in each of the final two games.
Despite the loss, USC outside attacker Lucas Yoder had a career-high 33 kills on a .509 attack percentage. The All-MPSF senior started the match with 10 kills in the Trojans’ first-game overtime win.
USC all-conference middle attacker Andy Benesh contributed 11 kills on a .588 attack percentage and three blocks in the non-conference match.
Penn State defensively out-blocked USC 14 to 9 with Mende, Albrecht and middle attacker Matt Callaway and Albrecht each contributing five blocks. Libero Royce Clemens also had a match-high 14 digs.
With this victory, the Nittany Lions split their two matches at the AVCA Showcase. Penn State suffered a three-game loss to No. 2 UCLA in its season-opener on Friday.