Outside attacker Aaron Russell in limited time on the court during Penn State’s preseason opener showed why he was reigning EIVA Player of the Year.
Russell tied for a team-high with 11 kills as Penn State defeated its in-state, conference rival St. Francis 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-13 to open the Penn State Fall Invitational on Thursday in University Park, Pa.
With Penn State using a variety of lineups throughout the match, Russell played in three games before being pull and finished with a .450 attacker percentage. The junior All-American also was one of three Nittany Lions to have double-digit kills.
Outside attacker Andrew Roberts had 11 kills, including the final two kills of the match to secure the Penn State victory. In addition, outside attacker Nick Goodell added 10 kills against St. Francis.
St. Francis outside attacker Logan Patterson in the loss had a match-high 12 kills. Patterson is entering his senior year after earning all-conference honors and leading the EIVA in kills per game average last season.
Despite the loss, St. Francis out-hit Penn State .310 to . 287, including having more than .400 attack percentage in the first two games. In addition, the Red Flashes in the preseason match out-blocked the Nittany Lions 14.5 to 2.
St. Francis middle attacker Mike Marshman playing in all five games led all players with seven blocks.
Penn State will continue the three-day preseason tournament as it plays Dalhousie at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rec Hall. Dalhousie, a Canadian college, lost its tournament opener to Monterey Tech on Thursday afternoon.