Fort Wayne, IN - Junior Darryl Shank posted a four-set season-high 31 kills, leading an efficient IPFW offense that defeated the Cardinal Stritch Wolves, 30-27, 24-30, 30-20, 30-17.
Oliver Kook got the first set started quickly, leading the 'Dons to an early 17-12 advantage. The home team would extend the lead to as many as seven at 24-17 before the hot hand of Stritch middle hitter Fernando Bernal led an 8-2 Wolves run that cut the lead to one at 26-25.
Two kills from Elon Fyfield and two from Shank closed the door on the late scare, sealing a first set win, 30-27.
Shank was an impressive nine-of-13 on attacks in the period, hitting at a .692 clip in the first frame.
The second set belonged to the Wolves from the first serve. Stritch jumped to an early lead and slowly built on it, eventually stretching the advantage to as many as eight at 24-16. Austin Cass slammed home the final point to square the score at a set each with a 30-24 win.
The second set loss sparked the IPFW squad into action in the third stanza. Freshmen Anthony Randolph and Elon Fyfield led the 'Dons to a commanding 10-4 lead and Shank's powerful swing helped grow the lead to 24-15. Shank closed the third set with a cross-court laser to seal a commanding 30-20 lead.
The 'Dons hit at a .458 percentage as a team in the third set victory.
The Wolves never had a chance in the third set. IPFW stormed out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back. Middle hitters Oliver Kook and Corey Frain dominated the Wolves' offense on the front line, pushing the 'Dons out to a commanding lead at 21-16.
Two service aces by Garrett Bitter highlighted a 9-1 IPFW run to close out the set and the match with a 30-17 fourth set win.
Shank posted a four-set season-best tally with 31 kills, his second-best performance this season. Elon Fyfield (14 kills) and Oliver Kook (10 kills) rounded out the double-digit scorers for the 'Dons. Dan Mader posted 58 assists and Shaun Dryden tallied 15 digs to lead the defensive effort. Kook also posted a pair of solo blocks and six block assists on the front line.
The 3-1 win sets the stage for tomorrow night's MIVA match-up with the Buckeyes of Ohio State University. First serve between the 'Dons and the Buckeyes will be at 7 p.m. at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne.