Fort Wayne, IN - After a sharp opening-set
victory by the Mastodons, No. 14 Lewis turned up the pressure, as
IPFW fell 25-15, 17-25, 20-25, 22-25.
The 'Dons struck early and often in the opening set rout. Back-to-back kills by Phil Peterson and Elon Fyfield opened the early going in favor of IPFW 5-3. A Darryl Shank laser kill pushed the Mastodon advantage to 15-12 before the IPFW attack began its run. Riding their .625 opening-set hitting percentage, the 'Dons took 10 of the next 13 points, including a 6-0 run to close a convincing opening set victory, 25-15.
IPFW tallied kills 16 kills on 24 total attacks while making just one attack error in the set. Newly returned from a minor injury, sophomore opposite Elon Fyfield posted six kills on eight attacks and middle blocker Phil Peterson was a perfect 1.000 in a set that saw the Flyers post no blocks.
The 14th-ranked Flyers responded in the start of set number two, as their five-point run broke the tie at 10 and gave Lewis a 15-10 lead. A four-point run later in the set pushed the Flyer lead to 22-14 before the visiting squad closed out a second-set response
The two sides traded stat lines set number two. After hitting at a .625 clip in the opening set, IPFW's attack rate fell into the negatives, as they managed to tally just nine kills en route to a -.032 percentage. The Flyers posted just three errors in the second set and posted six blocks to stymie the Mastodon attackers. Through two sets, the lone consistent Mastodon player was senior outside hitter Darryl Shank and his 11 kills and .429 attack percentage.
Strong back-row play by the 'Dons, both on the attack and defensively, kept the first half of set three neck-and-neck. Big digs by Rob Samp and Phil Peterson a consistent attack from Elon Fyfield and Darryl Shank gave IPFW a brief 15-14 lead in the frame.
A Darryl Shank serve found the face of a Flyer back-row player, as the ace gave the 'Dons a 17-15 lead, warranting a Lewis timeout. Out of the break, the Flyers attack would awaken, storming back to take a 20-19 lead. Their advantage would grow to 24-20 with a service ace before another ace would end IPFW's chances at 25-20 in the third set.
As a team, the IPFW posted a .500 attack percentage to the Flyers' .393. Despite capturing the third set win, the Flyers' blockers failed to land a single stop on IPFW attackers for the second time in three sets.
Like those before it, set number four was a back-and-forth battle through the first half of action. A Flyer attack error gave IPFW a 15-14 lead and, after Adam Quinn's serve, Corey Frain and Darryl Shank posted a huge block to take a two-point lead before Lewis' timeout.
Eddie Rivera's quick touch pushed the lead to 18-16, but the Flyers would have the answer. They rattled off five of the next six points to rip away a 21-19 lead. Three of the next four points in favor of the Flyers would push the set to match point and, after two IPFW points, Lewis closed the set with a big kill, 25-22.
Senior Darryl Shank led the Mastodon attack as his posted 20 kills and maintained a .457 overall hitting percentage. Elon Fyfield followed with 16 markers and Shaun Dryden posted a season-high 13 digs. Corey Frain posted one solo stop and four helpers to lead the Mastodon frontline.
The loss drops IPFW to 6-6 overall and 0-4 in conference play. They return to action next Friday (Feb. 25) as they travel to Columbus, Ohio for a matchup with the sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. First serve at St. John Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.