Mount Olive came away from its road trip to Pennsylvania empty-handed, but the Trojans gave nationally-ranked, Division I Penn State all it wanted in a 26-24, 25-22, 25-22 setback Saturday night in University Park, Penn. The Nittany Lions were ranked sixth in the country.
In the opener, the Trojans (6-3 overall) reeled off four consecutive points, one on a kill by Adam Miracle and a pair of Nittany Lion attack errors for a 12-8 advantage. After a Penn State timeout, Peter Russell, then Aaron Russell delivered kills to turn the set back in Nittany Lion favor.
After going back and forth trading points, Penn State (8-1) used a pair of Trojan attack errors to take the lead. A block by Ben Casado tied the set at 22-22, then kills by Andreas Lengler tied the set twice more before a block by Ian Hedries ended the game.
In the second game, Mount Olive surged ahead. An ace by Angel Dache and a Lengler kill gave Mount Olive a 9-6 lead. Another Lengler kill brought the Trojans back within 18-16 later in the set before the Nittany Lions scored four in a row to pull away again.
The Trojans fended off three set points thanks to kills by Miracle and Lengler before Nick Goodell delivered the winning kill.
In the clincher, Penn State was again forced to play from behind early. After five ties in the early going, an ace from Miracle, a kill by Lengler and an attack error by Penn State gave the Trojans an 11-8 lead.
Kills by Dache and Tim Ebbecke kept the Trojans in front before the Nittany Lions went ahead for good on two kills by Peter Russell and two Trojan attack errors for a 21-20 lead.
The Trojans got within a point again on a Penn State service error, but Mount Olive could not get over the hump.
Dache and Lengler had 13 and 11 kills respectively to lead the Trojans. Casado added 31 assists and Miracle finished with four of his team's seven service aces. Miracle also led the Trojans with 14 digs.
Goodell had 13 kills for the Nittany Lions, while Aaron and Peter Russell had 11 apiece.
The Trojans return home February 9 to meet Conference Carolinas rival Belmont Abbey at 2 p.m.