Nugent, Braswell power Penn State past St. Francis in EIVA finals

So much for that so-called championship drought plaguing No. 13 Penn State.

Penn State had more than .350 attack percentage in all three games of a 25-19, 25-14, 25-20 victory against St. Francis on Saturday at Rec Hall to win its first EIVA Tournament since 2015.


Setter Luke Braswell, an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team selection, had 33 assists and guided the Nittany Lions to out-hit the Red Flash .418 to .075.

All-EIVA outside attacker Chris Nugent had a team-high nine kills on a .438 attack percentage en route to being named the EIVA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Nugent also had a match-high 15 kills in Penn State’s sweep against Princeton in the conference tournament semifinals on Thursday.

Nugent was one of four Nittany Lions to have at least five kills and a .300 attack percentage versus the Red Flash. All-EIVA outside attacker Aiden Albrecht had nine kills, while middle attacker Matt Callaway added six kills and zero attack errors on a .600 attack percentage.

Along with their offensive performance, Albrecht and middle attacker Kevin Gear each had a match-high four blocks. In addition, libero Royce Clemens contributed a match-high 10 digs.

Freshman All-American outside attacker Michael Fisher in the loss had a match-high 12 kills. Fisher was the only Red Flash to finish with more than seven kills.

This was the second consecutive year that Penn State and St. Francis have played each other in the EIVA Tournament. The Red Flash upset the Nittany Lions in the conference tournament semifinals last season — Penn State’s first loss in the tournament since 1998.

With this victory, Penn State earned the EIVA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The six-team field for the NCAA Tournament will be unveiled Sunday. The Nittany Lions are projected to be a No. 5 seed and compete in a play-in match, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.