Phoenix, AZ - Led on the attack by Eddie Rivera and Darryl Shank, the IPFW Mastodons cruised to their first conference win of the 2011 season, downing Grand Canyon, 25-23, 25-12, 25-19.
Rivera led the 'Dons with 16 kills and a .565 attack percentage while Shank added 11 markers at a .409 clip.
A 4-1 rally in set number one propelled the 'Dons to an early opening set lead at 11-7. Battling back to even at 15-15, the Antelopes would keep things knotted until deep into the set. Neither side took more than a one-point advantage from points 15 to 23 when Darryl Shank fired a kill to move the opening frame to set-point at 24-22.
Grand Canyon's Ben Ponnet would interrupt the IPFW set-closing rally with a kill before the Mastodons closed out the first frame with an Antelope attack error, 25-23.
As a team, the Mastodons hit at a .476 percentage in the first set, led by Rivera's .833 clip (5-6).
Set number two was a different story. With the score tied at 3-3, the Mastodon attack exploded, taking 16 of the next 20 points to quickly slam the door on the Antelopes. A kill by Ivan Matos would push the action to set-point and he would close out the frame himself with a service ace on the next play to take set two, 25-12.
IPFW hit at an eye-opening .565 percentage overall in the second set, tallying 15 kills and two errors on 23 total attacks. In all, five players hit above .500 in the second set rout.
The third and final set saw IPFW carry over that momentum with an early 10-5 advantage. The 'Lopes would fight back and tie the set at 12 in what would be their lone rally of the set. An IPFW 7-3 run moved the frame to 19-15 as the visitors maintained their advantage to the end.
A service error by Taylor Griffin moved the set to match-point and Anthony Randolph closed out the victory with a service ace in a 25-19 final set win.
As a team, IPFW hit .413 overall in the match, led by Adam Quinn's 34 assists. Ivan Matos led the digs category at seven whileRob Samp's two solo blocks and Corey Frain's four assists led at the net.
The win moves IPFW to 9-7 overall and 1-5 in conference play. The two teams will return to the court Saturday in an 8 p.m. EST showdown in Phoenix.