Video: Freshmen lead way for No. 13 Penn State in win vs. USC

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.