Strong Defensive Outing Leads IPFW to Four-Set Victory over Sacred Heart

Strong Defensive Outing Leads IPFW to Four-Set Victory over Sacred Heart

Fort Wayne, IN - A strong defensive outing, led at the net by Corey Frain's 13 block assists, helped the IPFW Mastodons avenge an early season loss to the Sacred Heart Pioneers in four sets, 28-26, 25-27, 26-24, 25-17.

In the match's opening frame, the Mastodons were forced to battle from behind after a slow start. After trailing by as many as four at 5-1, senior outside hitter Darryl Shank gave IPFW its first lead at 11-10 with a laser kill down the line. Jonathan Meyer subbed in to take the serve and capped off a 6-2 IPFW run that pushed the Mastodons ahead, 19-15.

A three-point Pioneer run brought the match back to neck-and-neck and the set would stay that way until late. Sacred Heart was the first to bring the match to set-point at 24-23 as IPFW capitalized on a service error to stay alive. The Mastodons would take their first set-point on an Eddie Rivera kill to move to 26-25 and, after squandering their first two set-ending opportunities, sealed the first win 28-26 on a three-man stop by Rivera, Rob Samp and Ivan Matos.

Sacred Heart's Enzo Mackenzie posted 11 kills in an opening set that saw IPFW post five total blocks.

IPFW hopped out to an early 7-3 lead in the second frame before the Pioneers began chipping away. Sacred Heart's slow-building attack eventually gave the Pioneers the lead at 21-20. With the score knotted at 25 apiece, a controversial side-out call in front of the Pioneer bench gave Sacred Heart the game-point opportunity and they converted to steal away the second set, 27-25.

The Pioneers were able to carry over their momentum into set number three. They hopped out to a 10-6 lead and continued to stave off IPFW rallies until late. The Mastodons would take a lead as large as four at 19-15, but could never hang on. The Pioneers would take what felt like a commanding lead at set-point, 24-22 before "The Ivan Matos Show" began.

Ivan Matos slammed home a kill to stop the first set-point and came back with another on the next play to stop the set-ender for a second time. With the score at 24-23, it was Matos again on the kill, tying the match at 24-24. Matos, along with Samp, combined for a massive block at the antenna on the next play to move the set to 25-24, IPFW and on the final play of the set it was Matos yet again for the set-winner, 26-24.

The solo five-point rally highlighed a third frame that saw Matos tally kills on nine of 14 attacks.

With their swagger in full swing, the fourth set undoubtedly belonged to IPFW. With the score at 9-8, the IPFW frontline blew up. They posted back-to-back-back-to-back blocks and Shank put the exclamation point on a six-point run with a laser cross-court kill to take a commanding 14-8 lead. From there, the Mastodon rout was on. They capitalized on five Pioneer service errors and amassed 7.5 blocks as a team in a fourth-set victory, 25-17.

Frain's 13 block assists was just one of IPFW's huge statistical showings. For the second time in as many nights, Darryl Shank posted a double-double with 13 kills and a season-best 12 digs. Setter Adam Quinn tallied a career-high 11 digs and coupled that with 45 assists to post a double-double, as well.  

The duo of Ivan Matos and Eddie Rivera stole the show on the attack. Matos posted a career-high 18 kills, including nine in a third set come-from-behind victory. Rivera sparked IPFW's hot start as he closed the night with 16 markers of his own, falling just short of a career-high mark set in last night's victory over George Mason.

As a team, IPFW tallied 37 block assists, falling just short of a school record set in 1994 at Loyola.

The win pushes IPFW to 8-7 overall as they prepare for next weekend's trip to Phoenix, Ariz. for a pair of matches with MIVA foes, Grand Canyon. First serve at GCU is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST both Thursday (Mar. 10) and Saturday (Mar. 12).