Red-Hot Start Propels Mastodons to Another Sweep of NJIT
Newark, NJ - An astounding 18-point victory in the opening game set the tone for the evening, as the Mastodons cruised to their second win in as many days, downing the NJIT Highlanders, 25-7, 25-15, 25-22.
Four straight points to open the match gave IPFW a kick-start of confidence. The 'Dons took an 11-point advantage at 13-2 with a kill by senior Darryl Shank and the lead continued to swell. A kill by middle blocker Rob Samp gave IPFW the set-point opportunity and one of the Highlanders' 10 attack errors closed the set in favor of the 'Dons, 25-7.
The 18-point rout is the largest margin of a single-set victory for the 'Dons since March 30, 2007, when IPFW opened a three-set sweep of Mercyhurst with a 30-9 win.
In the set, IPFW hit .500 as a team and posted six blocks in holding NJIT to a meager -.143 hitting percentage. In addition, the Highlanders did not post a single block in the opening frame.
Riding high on the confidence of the first set, the 'Dons powered into the next set in much the same fashion. Jumping out to a quick 14-5 advantage after a kill by Elon Fyfield, the Mastodons maintained. Their lead grew to as many as 13 at 21-8 before Fyfield would slam home another kill to close a 25-15 second set victory.
Junior Adam Quinn tallied 12 of his team-high 21 assists in the middle stanza.
The third and final set of the match would be much closer. The visiting Mastodons jumped out to an early 12-7 advantage in what looked like a mirror image of the first two sets. The Highlanders would battle back, using a number of IPFW setting and serving miscues to knot the match at 19-19.
After trading serves back-and-forth, a Jonathan Meyer kill just moments later would give IPFW a 23-21 lead, warranting a timeout from the NJIT bench. NJIT's Dhruv Lad closed the gap with a kill on the next play, but IPFW sophomore Anthony Randolph would answer with a kill of his own, pushing the set to match-point Mastodons.
A massive three-man block on the edge by Dan Mader, Phil Peterson and Jonathan Meyer ended the set at 25-22, completing a weekend of sweeps for the IPFW Mastodons. Despite the close score, the IPFW defensive front held the Highlanders to a hitting percentage of just .080 in the final frame.
For the second time in as many games, the Mastodon defense held the Highlanders to a negative hitting percentage. Leading the defense's 10.5 total blocks was Phil Peterson with five block assists.
Freshman Eddie Rivera Marin led the squad in kills for the second time in as many career appearances for the Royal Blue and White. Rivera Marin's hitting percentage on the night (.769, 10-13) came dangerously close to setting a new IPFW single-game record. As a team the 'Dons posted a .397 hitting percentage.
Adam Quinn led the squad with 21 assists while Shaun Dryden carried the digs load with a team-best eight.
The Mastodons will return home to take on the Pacific Tigers in a Thursday-Friday doubleheader. First serve for Thursday (Jan. 13) is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne. The home opener is also Mastodon Magnet Schedule giveaway.