Fort Wayne, IN - The Tigers of Pacific
University were able to hang on to the momentum created by a sharp
start, as they downed the IPFW Mastodons in four sets, 25-20,
28-26, 25-27, 25-20.
A service ace by Pacific's Chaz Hindsley gave the Tigers an early lead to build on as the visitors took an 11-9 lead to start the match. That advantage would continue to build as the Mastodons could only pull to within two points of a crisp Pacific offensive attack. A block by Hindley and teammate Patrick Tunnell would close out an opening set victory, 25-20.
As a team, Pacific hit at a .560 clip in the first frame, including just three errors on 25 total attacks.
The momentum would swing and favor of the home team in game number two as aces by Phil Peterson and Adam Quinn powered an 8-4 start in the set. That lead would slowly dwindle to nothing as the Tigers knotted the set at 11 apiece. Firing back and forth at one another, the tie wouldn't break again until IPFW managed to take a brief two-point lead at 17-15.
After battling back to tie the match at 21-21, two consecutive Tiger errors put the Mastodons in prime position at 23-21. This time though, it was two IPFW miscues that turned the tides, as a net violation and overpass allowed Pacific to bring the match even yet again at 23-23.
Facing game-point, down 24-23 redshirt sophomore Phil Peterson posted a big kill to save the set and in what appeared to be an ace by Elon Fyfield in the next play at 24-24 was reversed by the head referee, keeping the neck-and-neck set alive, deflating the IPFW momentum in the process. In the end, an IPFW mental miscue and Tiger ace would be the final breaking points, as Pacific took a convincing 2-0 lead heading to the break with a thrilling 28-26 second-set victory.
Plagued by attack errors throughout the set, IPFW would manage a hitting percentage of just .065 in the frame. Senior Darryl Shank led the 'Dons with four kills in the set.
The Tigers built a 12-9 lead in game three and continued to apply the pressure. The 'Dons would pull to within a point on several occasions before a late push, using three kills by Elon Fyfield and a tremendous defensive effort by Corey Frain to briefly capture a one-point lead at 23-22.
Elon Fyfield blasted a kill down the far sideline to even the match at 25-25. Ready to jump on the advantage, the Mastodon defense locked in, forcing two Tiger errors to close out an IPFW 27-25 come-from-behind victory in the third set, bringing the match within reach at two sets to one.
Unable to capture that same fire in set number four, IPFW found themselves in a five-point hole at 14-9. The Pacific lead would grow to seven at 20-13 and reach as many as eight at 24-16. Five straight Mastodon points would signal a late charge to cut the lead to three at 24-21 before the Tigers closed out a 3-1 match victory with a 25-21 set win.
Darryl Shank led the IPFW offense with 15 kills, followed by Elon Fyfield's .300 attack percentage night and 12 kills. Adam Quinn posted a season-high 40 assists and Shaun Dryden tallied 10 digs in the loss.
The loss drops the 'Dons to 2-1 on the early season. They will return to action tomorrow evening for part two of a doubleheader with the visiting Tigers. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne.