Fairfax, VA - Unfortunately for the IPFW men's volleyball team, Saturday night was deja vu all over again. After jumping out to a two-set lead, the 'Dons fell to the George Mason Patriots in five, 30-25, 30-28, 28-30, 18-30, 12-15.
The 'Dons burst into action strong, jumping out to a 13-8 advantage in the opening set. Maintaining the lead throughout the stanza, the Patriots never cut the lead to fewer than three as the Mastodons cruised to a 30-25 first set win.
The second set was much of the same. A three-point IPFW lead at 11-8 stayed steady, extending until deep into the set. The Patriots pulled the match to within a point at 24-23, but a Darryl Shank kill and pair of Patriot errors gave the 'Dons a commanding 27-23 lead.
With the 'Dons sitting on match point at 29-25, Mason staged a late rally to cut the game to 29-28 before freshman Anthony Randolph sealed the 30-28 win with a huge kill from teammate Dan Mader.
Freshman Elon Fyfield logged an impressive eight of his career-high 28 kills in the second frame.
In the third set, the match looked to be in control, as the 'Dons jumped out to a 13-9 lead. That lead built to 24-19 before the Patriots began to chip away. Mason's steady attack eventually knotted the set at 27. A bad set by the 'Dons gave Mason the daylight they needed as took the lead and sealed the deal on a miraculous come-from-behind third set victory, 30-28.
Despite the set loss, junior Darryl Shank tallied an impressive six-kill, two-ace performance in the set.
The fourth set belonged to the Patriots from the start. The home squad built an early 9-3 lead, eventually growing the advantage to 19-9 before closing out a convincing 30-18 fourth set win.
Like the night before, the 'Dons entered a fifth set on their heels, knotted a two sets a piece after an early lead. And, as Yogi Berra might say, it was deja vu all over again. The Patriots, riding their building momentum took an 8-5 lead at the turn and had the match in hand. IPFW cut it close at 14-12, but Mason's Petr Dabrowski closed the Patriot match win with a 15-12 fifth set victory.
The five-set heartbreaker is the 'Dons' third in as many matches.
Fyfield paced the Mastodon offense with a career-best 28 kills in the match. Shank followed with 18 kills. Dan Mader logged 52 assists and libero Shaun Dryden led the defense with 15 digs. Freshman Rob Samp totaled six block assists in the match to lead the frontline.
The loss drops the 'Dons 2010 tally to 8-11 while the Patriots improve to 5-11 overall. The Mason win wraps a two-match season sweep for Mason.
The 'Dons return to action next Friday (Mar. 26) as they travel to Kenosha, Wis. for a 7:00 matchup with the Carthage College Redmen.