Purdue Fort Wayne stuns No. 6/8 Penn State in marathon fifth-game overtime

Photo courtesy of Purdue Fort Wayne athletics

Jon Diedrich as soon as the ball hit the ground from the team’s match-winning block ran across the court and jubilantly jumped into a group of students storming the court.

It was the type of spontaneous, enthusiastic celebration from the pin-hitter that met the moment after the pin-hitter helped pull off one of the school’s biggest upsets in recent history.

Diedrich finished with a season-high 21 kills on .513 attack percentage as Purdue Fort Wayne defeated No. 8/6 Penn State 21-25, 25-24, 25-23, 18-25, 20-18 on Saturday in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The opposite in the fifth game had three kills, including a kill during a 5-1 Purdue Fort Wayne run that erased a 12-9 deficit. In addition, Diedrich had a kill early in the fifth-game overtime that set up a match-point opportunity.


Penn State fought off four match-points to extend the overtime. However, the Mastodons on their fifth try were able to close out the 10-point overtime with a block from Andrej Polomac and Bryce Walker.

Walker also was one of three Mastodons with double-digit kills against the Nittany Lions.

Pin-hitter Mark Frazier led Purdue Fort Wayne with a career-high 24 kills on a .306 attack percentage. Frazier in the third game had a game-high seven kills, including with the score tied at 21-21 having three kills as part of a 4-1 run to close out the game

Walker finished with 10 kills and zero errors on a match-high .909 attack percentage.

Purdue Fort Wayne had more than a .300 attack percentage in each of the final four games and for the match out-hit Penn State .344 to .343.

Despite the loss, outside attacker Michal Kowal led all players with 25 kills on a .383 attack percentage. Kowal in the fifth game had a game-high six kills with three of those kills coming with the team facing a match-point.

Penn State outside attacker Michael Valenzi contributed 13 kills, while middle attacker Owen Rose added a season-high 11 kills.

This loss ends the Nittany Lions’ three match winning streak. Penn State entered this match after sweeping No. 15 Ball State on Friday and had back-to-back wins against then-No. 1/1 Ohio State last week.