Record-breaking five Nittany Lions selected AVCA All-Americans

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania. –Five Penn State men’s volleyball student-athletes, a program record, have been named AVCA All-Americans, the national coaching association announced Monday.

Senior Brett Wildman earned his third career All-America honor along with his first first-team honor, Penn State’s first since Aaron Russell in 2015. Cole Bogner and Cal Fisher were selected to the All-America Second Team for a second straight season and senior redshirt Will Bantle and second Toby Ezeonu were named All-America honorable mentions.

Penn State’s five All-America winners tie its single-season program record, which was previously done in 1981, 2008 and 2009.

All five Nittany Lions were named All-EIVA First Team selections, with Wildman also being named the 2022 Uvaldo Acosta Memorial EIVA Player of the Year.

Wildman’s third All-America nod comes the same year as his second Conference Player of the Year honor thanks to another electric season from the outside hitter. Wildman set single-season personal bests for kills (302), hit percentage (.342) and aces (41) in 2022.

He also climbed the program’s career rankings with 128 career service aces, good for fifth overall, while approaching the 1,000 career kill mark at 981 currently.

Wildman’s third AVCA All-America honor following his second-team endorsement in 2021 and honorable mention in 2020 makes him the first Nittany Lion to win three career All-America awards since Dennis Del Valle, who has been four times All-American from 2008 to 11.

Wildman is one of eight Nittany Lions to have been three-time AVCA All-Americans: Javier Gaspar, Chris Chase (four times), Ivan Contreras, Jose Quiñones, Keith Kowal, Max Lipsitz and Del Valle.

Bogner pieced together another stellar season as a Nittany Lions passer, leading the offense to another great season. His career-best 10.48 assists per set ranks fifth nationally and led Penn State to 23 wins and a .338 hit percentage, sixth-best in the nation.

Bogner’s second AVCA All-America award comes a year after he was named 2021 AA following his 2021 EIVA Player of the Year honor.

Fisher has played the right pin and service line lights this season for his second nod to the EIVA First-Team. He led Penn State with 47 aces this season and ranks only behind Olympians Aaron Russell and Max Holt on the program’s aces list with 142.

The Pittsburgh native also had 289 kills, a .326 hit percentage and career bests in digs (158) and blocks (38) in 2022.

The All-America honor is Fisher’s second after his second-team award in 2021 which included the country’s top server honor from Off the Block.

Bantle has been as steady as Penn State’s defensive rock can be for the past four years and eventually won his first All-America award. Bantle had the best serve-receipt percentage of .981 (464-473) and led the Nittany Lions with 186.

His 2.02 digs per set ranked third in the EIVA. It became just the 10and Nittany Lion will hit 600 career digs this season.

The escape season organized by Toby Ezeonu put him on the map as one of the nation’s leading physical presences and earned him his first All-America honor. Ezeonu led the nation with a .528 hit percentage (193-31-307), which ranks fourth in a single Penn State season all-time.

The New Jersey native ranked third on the team with 191 kills while leading the Nittany Lions with 77 total blocks, 13 of which were solo.

For more Penn State Men’s Volleyball news, follow the Nittany Lions on Twitter @PennStateMVBALL and Instagram @pennstatemvball and “like” the Penn State Men’s Volleyball Page on Facebook.

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