Penn State Altoona Defeats Wells College to Claim First NEAC Men's Volleyball Title

Penn State Altoona Defeats Wells College to Claim First NEAC Men's Volleyball Title

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – No. 1 seed Penn State Altoona and No. 3 Wells College squared off in a Saturday matinee for the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Men’s Volleyball Championship with the Lions defeating the Express, 3-1, to win their first-ever NEAC crown in front of the hometown crowd at Penn State Altoona’s Adler Gym.

Boxscore / Recap (Courtesy of Penn State Altoona)

After finding themselves in a quick 0-4 hole to open the first set, Penn State Altoona (26-6) turned the tables with an 11-0 rally en route to a 25-18 win. The Lions rode that momentum in to the second set, dominating much of the play in a 25-13 victory and taking a 2-0 lead over the Express.

With the third set tied at 13-13, Wells College (19-13) went up by two points on back-to-back kills by Mike Hartman (Swoyersville, Pa.). After a kill by Justin Bannister (Willow Hill, Pa.) brought the Lions back within one, Wells rattled off five straight points en route to an eventual 25-16 win.

The Express would not go down without a fight as the two teams traded points for much of the fourth set. Penn State Altoona took a late 24-21 lead but a kill from Wells’ Caden O’Loughlin (Louisville, Ky.) and an attack error by the Lions made it a one-point game before a kill by Lions’ senior Jacob Byers (Level Green, Pa.) secured the win.

O’Loughlin led the Express with 14 kills and four service aces. Josh Undari (Manor Park, N.Y.) added a match-high 23 assists while Scott Litvin (Sayville, N.Y.) recorded 15 digs for Wells.

Byers, who was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player, led all players with 19 kills. Wally Rivera-Berrios (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) contributed 14 digs for Penn State Altoona and Billy Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) gave his team 20 assists.

With the win, Penn State Altoona becomes the first NEAC team to receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Tournament. The Lions will find out their next opponent on Monday, Apr. 17 at 10 a.m. during the 20017 NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Selection Show which can be viewed at NCAA.com.

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf).  The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s and women’s tennis.  For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.