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Rules of the Game
Collegiate volleyball is an indoor team sport. Courts are divided into 29 ½ foot square halves, separated by a 39 inch net that is 7 feet 11 5/8 inches above the floor. Each team occupies one of the court halves, and players may not cross into the opponent’s half. PennState’s men’s volleyball team plays its home matches in Rec Hall.
Matches consist of a maximum of five games; to win a match, a team must win three games. The first team to score 30 points wins the game, but if a fifth game must be played, the first team to score 15 points wins the game and match. (Note: In all games, a team must be at least two points ahead of its opponent to win, so that if the score of a game is 29-29, then the winning team must score 31 points). A team scores a point when one of its players hits the ball over the net and the opposing team cannot return it, or returns or serves it out of bounds. A team may score a point regardless of whether one of its players is serving; this is referred to as “rally” scoring.
A team must have six players on court for all points. These players rotate positions on the court as points are scored; one player, the libero (defensive specialist), may remain in the defensive backcourt, and may (but is not required to) serve when it is his turn. Players may be substituted after each point. Players may hit/touch the ball with any part of their body. A team is allowed to hit the ball no more than three times before it goes over the net; blocking an opponent’s shot does NOT count as a hit.
Penn State Men’s Volleyball History
The PennStatemen’s volleyball team began varsity competition in 1977 under coach Tom Tait, who also was the first women’s varsity volleyball coach. Tait guided the Nittany Lions to two Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) titles, five national championship tournament appearances, and a national runner-up finish in 1982, and was named EIVA coach of the year four times. For these accomplishments, Tait is considered to be the “father of PennState volleyball.” In 2007, he was recognized by the U.S. Volleyball Association as an All-Time Great Coach.
Tom Peterson took over as coach in 1989, and the program continued its success, culminating in the 1994 NCAA men’s volleyball national championship; that year, Peterson was recognized as national coach of the year. The Nittany Lions remain the only men’s team east of the Mississippi River to win the national title; coincidentally, the women’s volleyball team holds that same distinction. During Peterson’s six-year tenure,PennState appeared in five NCAA Tournaments.
Current coach Mark Pavlik played under Tom Tait, and succeeded Tom Peterson as head coach in 1995. Under Pavlik’s guidance, the Nittany Lions continue to be a national power, earning national runner-up distinction in both 1995 and 2006, winning the national championship in 2008, and participating in 13 national championship tournaments in 14 seasons. The 2008 team was the first eastern team to earn a #1 national tournament seed, and Matt Anderson was conference, national, and national tournament MVP. At the end of the 2009 season, the team had a 41 match Rec Hall winning streak.
The Big 10 does not support men’s volleyball at the varsity level, and so PennState competes in the EIVA. The NCAA tournament is limited to two rounds and four teams; three teams get automatic tournament bids as conference champions, and one “at-large” team is selected. Because the Nittany Lions have dominated the EIVA since its inception, they have become regular NCAA Tournament participants, appearing 23 times since 1911, and not missing the Tournament since 1998. As further evidence of PennState’s EIVA dominance, the EIVA Most Valuable Player Award, inaugurated in 1997, has gone to a Nittany Lion 11 times since 1997.
Team Accomplishments Coaches
NCAA Tournament Appearances Tom Tait(1977-1988) 355-88-9
1981-1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991-1997, 5 NCAA Tournament appearances
1999-2009 1982 National Runner-Up
1986, 1987 EIVA Champion
National Champions 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982 EIVA Coach of the Year
1994, 2008 Coach, PSU Women’s Volleyball 1976-1978
2007 USA Volleyball All-Time great Coach
1982, 1995, 2006 Tom Peterson (1989-1994) 128-50
1994 NCAA National Champion
EIVA Champions 5 NCAA Tournament appearances
1986, 1987, 1989, 1991-1997, 1999-2009 5 EIVA Championships
1994 AVCA, EIVA Coach of the Year
Mark Pavlik (1995-present) 366-105
Ivan Contreras (1994-1997) 13 NCAA Tournament appearances
1997 AVCA, EIVA Player of the Year 2008 National Champ, 2-time runner-up
1995-1997 1st Team All-American 13 EIVA Championships
4-time 1st Team All-EIVA 5-time EIVA Coach of the Year
1996, 1997 CoSIDA Academic All-American 2008 AVCA National Coach of the Year
3-time GTE Academic All-American
2001, 2002 1st Team All-American
3 time EIVA Player of the Year
1999 EIVA Newcomer of the Year
4-time 1st Team All-EIVA
AVCA Player of the Year-- Ivan Contreras (1997); Matt Anderson (co-winner 2008)
ASICS/Volleyball Magazine Libero of the Year – Ricky Mattei (2001).
NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player – Ramon Hernandez (1994); Matt Anderson (2008)
1st Team All-America – 26 selections, including multi-year honorees Chris Chase (1986, 1987, 1988), Javier Gaspar (1987, 1988), Ivan Contreras (1995, 1996, 1997), and Jose Quinones (2001, 2002), and Max Holt (2008, 2009).
EIVA Most Valuable Player – Ivan Contreras (1997); Tony Mazzullo (1998); Sergio Pompena (1999); Jose Quinones (2000, 2001, 2002); Carlos Guerra (2003); Keith Kowal (2004); Matt Proper (2005); Matt Anderson (2008), Max Holt (2009).
EIVA Newcomer of the Year – Jose Quinones (1999); Zeljko Koljesar (2000); Alex Gutor (2004); Dennis Del Valle (2008), Edgardo Goas (2009).
1st Team All-East/All-EIVA - 134 selections since 1972.