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.