HIRAM, Ohio - Despite a career-high effort from captain Alex Andrzejewski, the Hiram College men's volleyball team fell 3-1 to Penn State - Behrend in the opening game of the Terrier Invitational on Friday evening in Price Gymnasium.
The hosts came out swinging, taking the first set, 25-21, before dropping the next three by scores of 30-28, 25-14 and 25-18. The loss drops Hiram to 3-2 on the season, while the Lions improve their mark to 2-2 on the year.
The Terriers played effiecently in the opening set, controlling both the offensive and defensive sides of the net. Hiram hit .233 in the first, while holding Penn State - Behrend to just a .029 hitting percentage. Defensively, Andrew Gard posted three blocks, including two solo, to lead the effort.
Hiram never trailed in the first as Andrzejewski tallied the first two kills of the match to stake the Terriers to a two-point lead. The freshman tallied six of Hiram's 11 kills in the set.
The set would remain close throughout the game, with the Lions knotting the score three different times, including the final time at 14-14. From there, Hiram used a quick, three-point run, which included a kill by Hunter Rock, to extend the advantage to 17-14.
Behrend would close the gap in the late stages of the set (23-21), but back-to-back blocks by Gard, including the a solo stop for the final point, gave the Terriers their first set win on home soil.
The second set remained up for grabs throughout the entirety of the game, with both sides attempting to gain momentum by making runs. The Lions opened the game on a 6-3 swing, before Hiram responded with an 8-4 run to take a one-point lead (11-10). Freshman Cory Fischer totaled three kills in the run, before Andrzejewski gave the Terriers their first lead of the set.
Hiram would push their lead to 17-14 on a kill be Colton DeForest, before Behrend once again made their move. A 6-2 Lion run would tip the scales in favor of the visitors, with a Colton Dedert kill pushing Penn State back in front 20-18.
The hosts would be undeterred; even when starting at set point for the Lions. Down 24-20, Hiram used a 4-0 run to knot the game at 24-24 and force each team to score extra points. The two sides would again be tied four more times, with Fischer tallying a pair of kills, before Behrend was able to finish off the set, 30-28.
Looking to bounce back from the hard-fought second set, the Terriers came out flat in the third, hitting -.037 while falling 25-14 to give the Lions a 2-1 lead. Penn State - Behrend would then wrap up the match in the fourth set, taking the game 25-18, and the match, 3-1.
Offensively, Andrzejewski posted a career-high 16 kills, while hitting .312 on 32 attempts. Fischer added 11 kills, while DeForest finished with seven and Rock, six. Captain Jake Lininger became the first Terrier in program history to post a double-double, finishing with 11 digs and 22 assists.
Defensively, Brent Bierek joined Lininger with a team-high 11 digs, while Gard paced the Terriers with five blocks, including a pair of solo stops.
Hiram will get back to work with a pair of games on Saturday. The Terriers will face off against St. John Fisher at 12 p.m. before taking on Wittenberg at 4 p.m. The Cardinals and Tigers also squared off on Friday evening, with Wittenberg taking a 3-0 victory.