January 14, 2011

Mastodons Ride Sharp Offense to 3-0 Sweep of Pacific

Fort Wayne, IN – A picture-perfect offensive attack led to a .415 team hitting percentage and three-set sweep, as the Mastodons avenged Thursday’s night loss to Pacific, 25-19, 25-20, 25-21.

Sophomore middle blocker Rob Samp sparked an IPFW rally in the opening set, with a massive kill off the quick set of Dan Mader. Samp's kill was the first of four straight, giving the 'Dons an early 10-6 lead, warranting a Tiger timeout.

An ace by Eddie Rivera fought off a short Tiger rally, maintaining the four-point lead at 16-12 before a solo block at the net by Elon Fyfield pushed IPFW's lead to five at 20-15. Darryl Shank's ace kept pace, maintaining the lead at 22-17 and, after a number of acrobatic defensive saves by the 'Dons, a Tiger net violation closed the set in favor of the home team, 25-19.

The strong opening set victory was paced by Darryl Shank's five kills as IPFW hit .346 as a team in the opening frame.

Seven quick points by the Tigers opened set number two, as they jumped out to a convincing 7-2 lead. The steady play of junior setter Dan Mader allowed the Mastodons to battle back, capturing eight of the next 10 points, taking their first lead of the set at 10-9.

Rob Samp landed a block-and-kill combo giving IPFW a 13-10 advantage to force a Pacific timeout.

Slowly chipping at the lead, the Tigers would even the set at 18 apiece after an IPFW miscue. A spectacular dig by JW Kieckhefer and laser kill from Darryl Shank would give the 'Dons a spark, as they jumped ahead to a 21-19 lead. A three-man block pushed the lead to 23-20 and Elon Fyfield's solo stopper led the way as IPFW took set two, convincingly again, 25-20.

The true storyline of set two was the stellar defensive showing. As a team, IPFW logged seven blocks in the period and held the Tiger attack to a hitting percentage of just .194. Samp led the individuals, as the sophomore posted four of the squad's stops in the set.

The stalemate in the back-and-forth third set wouldn't break until late, as the 'Dons took a two-point lead at 20-18 with a massive Elon Fyfield attack and Tiger attack error. Dan Mader took the serve at 22-20 and Rob Samp again posted a huge block to make it 23-20. A Tiger error brought the set to match point and a Pacific net violation ended the set and game, as IPFW took the third and final frame, 25-21.

IPFW posted an eye-opening .538 hitting percentage in the final, game-clinching set win.

On a night in which five hitters posted attack percentages about .333, individual highlights were abound. Elon Fyfield led the offense with 13 kills (.357 hitting percentage/ two solo blocks), followed by Darryl Shank’s 11 (.391). Starting middle blockers Rob Samp (six kills/.556 hitting percentage) and Phil Peterson (six kills/.750) combined for eight of team’s 18 block assists on the night.

Dan Mader posted 32 assists from his setter position and Eddie Rivera tallied eight digs to lead the ‘Dons.

The Mastodons move to 3-1 on the young season and await their conference opener Friday as they play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes. First serve with the MIVA foe is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne.

~Dons~

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