ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's volleyball team split their season-opening tri-match, defeating Thiel 3-2 and falling to Penn State Altoona 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in the Junker Center.
The Lions (1-1) took a two set lead and held off the Tomcats, winning 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 23-25 and 15-12 in the second match of the day. In the home opener, Altoona (2-0) was able to nip Behrend, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23, 10-25 and 15-6.
Trenton Munk (Baden, PA/Ambridge) hit .531 with a career-high 19 kills on 32 attempts with just two errors in the first match. The junior also had double digits with 11 kills in the win over Thiel and combined for nine blocks on the day.
Newcomer Anthony Sprentz (Cranberry Township, PA/Seneca Valley) managed to dish out 86 assists over two matches, recording 51 vs. Altoona and 35 in the nightcap.
Eric Theiss (Plum, PA/Plum) helped on both sides of the ball, posting a double-double with a team-best 15 digs and 11 kills in the Lions first win of the season.
In first set against the Tomcats, Behrend used a 7-1 run to rally back from a three-point deficit for a 25-22 win. Two errors by Thiel combined with a kill from Josh Oertly (Cochranton, PA/Cochranton) and Theiss put the Lions ahead 22-21. Another kill from Theiss made it set point and the trio of Theiss, Munk and Joey Reynolds (Saegertown, PA/Saegertown) got the block for a 1-0 lead.
Similar to the second set, Behrend made a run at the end to break a 21-all tie thanks to kills from Oertly and Munk for a 25-22 victory.
Down 2-0, Thiel had two win the next two sets to have a chance, and they did. The Tomcats mimicked the Lions with late rallies to win 25-21 in the third and 25-23 in the fourth.
In the decisive fifth set, Thiel jumped out to an 8-4 lead but Behrend went on an 11-4 spurt to finish the set for the 15-12 victory.
Altoona earned its first-ever win over the Lions in the season-opening game of 2016. The Altoona Lions took a 2-1 lead after the third set, before falling 25-10 in the fourth to force a fifth set. Altoona started the final set with a 6-1 run never backed down for a 15-6 victory thanks to a William Smith kill and ace by Justin Bannister.
In addition to Munk, Tyler Herrmann (Cranberry Township, PA/Seneca Valley) and Oertly hit double-digit kills. Oertly tallied 14 kills and five blocks, while Herrmann had 11 kills in his debut with seven digs and two blocks.
Theiss added 10 digs and eight kills, while Cameron Crow (State College, PA/State College) led with 12 digs.
The Lions return to action on Friday against SUNY Poly at the Keuka Tournament. Match begins at 7 p.m.