Loretto, PA - Head Coach Arnie Ball picked up
win number 499 of his career and the Mastodons pushed their win
streak to five games with a four-set win over the Saint Francis
(Pa.) Red Flash, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22.
Senior Darryl Shank led the IPFW offense with 20 kills on 40 attacks, adding in seven digs. Junior Ivan Matos continued his recent hot streak, with 15 attacks and nine digs.
With the score tied at ten in the opening set, Shank and Matos sparked an outstanding IPFW run. Capturing eight of the next ten points, largely behind the serve of Rob Samp, the Mastodons opened up an 18-12 lead. A brief Red Flash charge would cut the IPFW lead to three at 19-16 before closing out a first-set victory, 25-19.
Shank picked up six of his game-high 20 kills in the opening set.
Set number two saw the home squad steadily build a four-point lead at 16-12. That lead would balloon to as many as six at 20-14 before the Mastodons cut the lead to three at 22-19. Saint Francis would move the match to set-point at 24-21 and after a pair of points cut the match to within one, the Red Flash closed out the second set win, 25-23.
As a team, the Mastodons hit at a manageable .296 pace, but were outmatch by Saint Francis' .462 attack percentage and Colin Sherwin's seven kills.
After fighting from behind, the Mastodon momentum sparked an 8-3 lead in the opening of the third set. IPFW slowly maintained the lead until late in the set as an IPFW attack error cut the advantage to three at 21-18. Able to weather the Red Flash storm, IPFW took advantage of a set-point opportunity as Matos fired home a kill from Dan Mader's set to close out the third frame, 25-21.
Featuring 15 tie scores and five lead changes, set number four was neck-and-neck from the start. The tie score didn't break until Saint Francis took a 22-20 lead a Colin Sherwin kill and IPFW attack error.
After a timeout whistle from the Mastodon bench, Matos fired a kill and IPFW rode four Saint Francis errors to match-point at 24-22. A Red Flash whistle proved to be too little, too late as Shank fired a kill for the match-clinching point at 25-22.
As a team, IPFW hit .308 overall and posted 39 digs in their first match since climbing into the top-three nationally in the category.
IPFW seeks win number six on the streak and number 500 in the illustrious career of Coach Ball tomorrow night as they travel to State College, Pa. for a 7 p.m. matchup with No. 9 Penn State.