Epic ace run sparks Penn State past Saint Francis for EIVA regular season title

Photo courtesy of Penn State athletics

The road to Los Angeles is going through Rec Hall for the EIVA.

No. 3/2 Penn State remained undefeated in conference play and captured its 35th all-time EIVA regular season championship as it swept Saint Francis 28-26, 25-21, 25-18 on Saturday in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

The Nittany Lions (20-3, 13-0 EIVA) as the regular season champion earned the right to play host to the entire EIVA Tournament later this month. The winner of the six-team EIVA Tournament will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at UCLA.

Outside attacker Brett Wildman led all players with a season-high seven aces against Saint Francis (13-11, 6-7 EIVA). Wildman had four consecutive aces as part of a 6-1 run to start the third game and then had an ace during a 4-0 run to close out the game and complete the sweep.


Along with the serving performance, Wildman finished with a match-high 12 kills on a .550 attack percentage.

Wildman was one of two Nittany Lions to hit more than .500. Middle attacker Toby Ezeonu contributed nine kills on a match-best .615 attack percentage.

Penn State was held to almost .070 percentage points below its season average but still out-hit Saint Francis .275 to .273. The teams, though, in the final game committed a combined five attack errors and each hit at least .400.

Freshman opposite Nathan Zini led Saint Francis with 11 kills on a .500 attack percentage.

Middle attacker Joshua Blair in the loss had a match-high six blocks. However, Blair was limited to both a conference season-low one kill and three attack attempts.

Penn State with this victory extends its winning streak to a nation-best 16 matches. The Nittany Lions are also the first tem in the nation to reach the 20-win milestone this season.