Fairfield, CT - In four tightly contested sets, the IPFW Mastodons fell to the Sacred Heart Pioneers, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-20.
After battling back and forth through the start of the set, the Mastodons appeared to take a convincing lead late. With the score tied at 21 a piece, Elon Fyfield and Darryl Shank landed back-to-back kills to give their side a strong advantage, just two points from an opening set win. After consecutive attack errors by the 'Dons and an IPFW timeout, the Pioneers stormed from behind, using a Greg Aydelotte kill and Patrick Sibley kill to capture to first frame, 25-23.
In the opening set, seniors Darryl Shank and Shaun Dryden paced the attack, with seven kills and six digs, respectively.
Set two started out in favor of the Pioneers as they leapt out to a 10-5 lead early. IPFW slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting the Sacred Heart advantage to one at 15-14. Despite a late charge, IPFW would never take the lead in the set, as the home squad cruised to a 25-22 set victory for a 2-0 lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Mastodons offense came alive. Corey Frain's kill gave the 'Dons a 1-0 lead and they never looked back. The 'Dons would would extend the lead to as many as seven at 20-13 before closing out a strong 25-20.
With a shaken lineup, led by Anthony Randolph's four kills and .429 attack percentage, the Mastodon offense rolled. Adam Quinnposted 14 assists in the set and Ivan Matos added five kills to help extend the game.
The momentum would swing for good in set number four. The Pioneers jumped out to an early 7-2 lead and continued to build on it. Again, IPFW would fall just short with a run in the middle of the set to cut the lead to one at 15-14 before the Pioneers would answer. Sacred Heart captured ten of the final 16 points of the match to close out the set and match victory, 3-1.
Overall, IPFW hit .241 as a team and were led by Darryl Shank's ten kills. Adam Quinn posted 22 assists and Shaun Drydentallied nine digs to lead the IPFW attack. As a team, IPFW posted 13 blocks, one of their best showings of the year.
IPFW continues the East Coast swing tomorrow night as they travel to Fairfax, Va. for a 7 p.m. matchup with the George Mason Patriots.