Lions beat No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 8 Stanford in Austin, Texas
UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State’s fourth-ranked men’s volleyball team racked up awards Monday thanks to a big weekend at the First Point Collegiate Challenge in Austin, Texas. Cole Bogner was named National Passer of the Week by Off the Block, while Toby Ezeonu was selected as National Medium Forward of the Week. Additionally, the Lions earned EIVA honors with John Kerr as Offensive Player of the Week and Michal Kowal as Defensive Player of the Week.
The Nittany Lions are 6-0 after their two wins at Texas. They posted 3-1 wins over No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 8 Stanford.
Bogner averaged 11.75 assists/set while leading Penn State in .356 hit percentage against both ranked opponents. He had 48 assists and an ace against the Waves, then had 46 assists and five digs against the Cardinal. Bogner has led the Lions to over .300 hits in each of the last six games.
Ezeonu was dominant against the stiff competition, hitting .576 with 20 kills, two aces and four blocks. He had 10 kills in both games. The double-digit total came on .500 hitting against Pepperdine and an even more impressive .692 against Stanford. Ezeonu is hitting .585 with 26 kills over the past three games. He has just two errors on 41 attacks during that streak.
Kerr continued his breakout season for Penn State. He hit .338 averaging 4.38 kills/set, 1.63 digs/set, and 0.50 blocks/set at the First Point Collegiate Challenge. The eldest had a big game against Pepperdine with 20 kills on .421 hits. He then missed his first career double-double with 15 kills and eight digs against the Cardinal.
Kowal did everything to help the Lions stay undefeated. The junior managed .444 with an average of 3.13 kills, 0.63 aces, 1.13 digs and 0.63 blocks per set. He had a career-high four aces and added 11 of .625 kills against the Waves, and had 14 kills, five digs and two blocks against the Cardinal.
Penn State has earned three National Off the Block honors and three EIVA Weekly Awards this season. The Lions are 6-0 for the first time since 2009 and are 3-0 against nationally ranked opponents.
The Lions will face a top-10 team for the third straight game when they host No. 3 Long Beach State on Wednesday at 7 p.m.