By Rafael R. Díaz Torres
College of Communications
Penn State University
University Park, PA
Del Valle is honored during "Senior Night" at University Park, PA.
The photo is a courstesy of Roberto I. Albandoz Carrasquillo.
On “Senior Night”, Puerto Rican libero Dennis Del Valle was honored twice by his university. Not only he received a resonant applause from the home crowd before the beginning of the Sunday match, but also left the arena with an important victory against a team that swept no. 10 Penn State in three sets last January.
Del Valle’s last regular season game at University Park ended with a four set (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-9) Nittany Lions victory over the no. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes. The Toa Alta native finished the game with a team-high 7 digs.
The first set presented a solid Penn State team that had a decisive 19-15 lead after consecutive kills from Jace Olsen and Joe Sunder. The Buckeyes closed the margin of difference (20-19), but ace service from Puerto Rican setter Edgardo Goas and kill from Sunder closed the first set of the match in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State came back and won the second set. With a solid 17-11 lead, the Buckeyes frustrated Penn State’s opportunities to win this set and go to the locker rooms with a 2-0 advantage.
The Nittany Lions third set victory was aided by an outstanding performance from Penn State’s opposing hitter Tom Comfort. Two consecutive kills and an ace from the sophomore player ignited a rally that gave an important 19-14 advantage to the home team.
The fourth segment was easily dominated by an inspired Nittany Lions sextet that accomplished a total of five team blocks in this closing set of the match.
For Penn State, Tom Comfort had a team-high 14 kills.
Ohio State had Shawn Sangrey as its best hitter. He led the match with 15 kills.
Redshirt junior setter Edgardo Goas contributed to his team’s victory with 35 assists.
|Redshirt junior setter Edgardo Goas |
(Photo: Roberto I. Albandoz Carrasquillo)
“Having Edgardo (Goas) as a setter makes hitting much easier”, expressed Comfort after the match.
While Goas still has an additional year of eligibility in NCAA volleyball, Dennis Del Valle is graduating in May.
Both players were included in the list of 25 players that the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation will be evaluating for the upcoming international tournaments in which the island’s national team will be participating during the summer.
For Emil Hernández, a Puerto Rican doctoral student at Penn State, the inclusion of Goas and Del Valle as potential members of the national team was positive.
“After seeing them play for four years, I believe their addition will strengthen the pre-selection. Their talent and fundamental skills are solid, plus they are smart players”, commented Hernández.
“Their experience playing in two NCAA championships will be of extreme value in the international level”, added the graduate student in Chemistry.
Sandra Rodríguez, a Villalba native, who is a professor at Penn State’s College of Education, agrees with Hernández and hopes the two players will treasure the opportunity to possibly represent their country.
“Wherever they are, we expect them to represent us with pride. I hope they never forget that part”, said Rodríguez.