Sacred Heart’s defense delivers in upset of No. 13 Penn State

So much for any talk about Sacred Heart yet to have a signature victory this season.

Sacred Heart rallied from a one-game deficit to upset No. 13 Penn State 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 on Saturday in University Park, Pennsylvania, for the first victory in program history against the Nittany Lions.


The Pioneers in the comeback held the Nittany Lions to less than a .150 attack percentage in the second and third games and finished the match out-hitting the defending EIVA regular season champions .290 to .214.

All-conference libero Joshua Ayzenberg led all players with a season-high 22 digs.

Sacred Heart (10-2, 3-1 EIVA) out-blocked Penn State 15.5 to 13.5 and had three players with at least five blocks, including middle attacker Taylor Bloomquist who had a match-high nine blocks. In addition, outside attacker Emerson Waumans added seven blocks, while middle attacker Doug Dzema had five blocks.

Penn State (9-6, 4-2 EIVA) was playing its second consecutive match without Preseason All-American outside attacker Chris Nugent after he suffered an injury in a loss to St. Francis earlier this week.

Outside attacker Aiden Albrecht getting the start in place of Nugent led the Nittany Lions with 14 kills and had a season-high 11 digs.

Opposite Christopher DeLucie in the victory finished with a match-high 17 kills. Outside attacker Michael Comens also had 15 kills on a .344 attack percentage, while Emerson contributed 11 kills.

This is Sacred Heart’s first victory against a nationally ranked team this season.

With the win, the Pionners have won seven of their last eight matches and move into a tie for first place in the EIVA. Sacred Heart is attempt to reach the postseason for the first time since the EIVA changed its conference tournament format to four teams in 2012.