Romeoville, IL - Behind the stellar play of
senior outside hitter Darryl
Shank's 18 kills, 12 digs and .424 attack percentage, the
IPFW Mastodons toppled the 14th-ranked Lewis Flyers in four sets,
27-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23.
The victory, which is IPFW's first over a ranked opponent since a five-set win over Loyola on Jan. 30, 2009, comes less than a week after the 14th-ranked Flyers handed the Ohio State Buckeyes their first conference loss of the season.
With the victory, IPFW moves to 5-6 overall in the MIVA and further clouds the conference standings behind Ohio State who has already clinched the regular season crown.
Action wouldn't break until the mid-way point of set number one as the Mastodons rattled off a five-point rally to take their largest lead to that point at 17-14. The 'Dons would storm ahead, taking a set-point opportunity at 24-21. Three consecutive Flyer points stymied the IPFW momentum, but after trading points, back-to-back Darryl Shank kills closed out the opening set win for the visitors, 27-25.
Shank posted seven of his team-high 18 kills in the opening set on just nine attacks to lead an offense that hit .350 overall.
Set number two played out in a near mirror image to the first, as the 'Dons used a mid-set rally to take a 17-14 lead. The Mastodons continued their lead, eventually taking a set-point opportunity at 24-20. Their set-clenching point would come three-plays later, again on a kill by Shank.
The third frame saw nine tie scores and six lead changes in a neck-and-neck set that went deep into the action. Lewis took their first two-point lead since early in the set at 20-18. The Mastodons, behind a handful of Flyer miscues, knotted the set at 22 each and had brief visions of a sweep in mind. Lewis points on three of the next four plays, though, would close out the third set in Lewis' only victory of the night, 25-23.
In the third set loss, the IPFW hitting clip fell to .087 after 6.5 blocks by the Flyer front.
Set number four, with the game on the line, was a battle from the opening serve. The Mastodons, as they had in sets one and two, used a strong mid-set showing to take a 17-14 lead. That lead would continue to hold until 22-20 when a Lewis timeout signaled the start of a tense final points.
The set would move back to even after a kill by Lewis middle block Matt Gallik, this time warranting a timeout from the IPFW bench. That whistle by Arnie Ball would be the play of the game as Eddie Rivera posted a kill on the next play before Rivera and Rob Samp posted a huge block to close out the set and match, 25-23.
Shank, along with Ivan Matos, paced the IPFW attack with 18 kills each. Dan Mader tallied 48 assists on IPFW's 62 kills. Corey Frain posted three solo block and two assists and Samp added five assists to lead a defense that totaled 11.5 blocks overall.
The win moves the Mastodons to 15-9 overall and 5-6 in MIVA play. IPFW (5-6, one MIVA game remaining), Lewis (5-5, two remaining) and Ball State (6-5, one remaining) remain locked in a three-way battle for third place.
The 'Dons travel to Muncie, Ind. for a heated matchup with rivals Ball State. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Worthern Arena.