FAIRFAX, Va. – Eleven players took the court for George Mason University's men's volleyball team on Saturday, helping the Patriots complete the weekend with a sweep of Lees-McRae in the RAC.
-Only Mason's two liberos Johnny Gomez and Seth Blevins and freshman setter Justin Coleman, who recorded a new career-high performance with 41 assists, did not register a kill on the night. Redshirt junior outside hitter Jack Wilson was the only player on either team to finish in double digits, recording 17 kills. The trio of freshman middle blockers who featured for the Patriots, Langston Payne (6 kills),Garrett Kollar (4 kills) and Bryant Ekstein (2 kills), were flawless in attack. Defensively, Gomez led all players in the match with 12 digs.
-Mark Shayka and John Sobel recorded 9 kills apiece to lead the Bobcats offensively, while libero Keenan Freitas was most productive in defense with 8 digs.
-Lees-McRae came out fighting for their first win of the season and eliminated an early advantage and picked up two leads before the teams entered double digits all square, 10-10. Wilson's and Coleman's serve gave the Bobcats a lot of trouble and sparked Mason runs which contributed to the Patriots giving up only four additional points prior to closing the opening set 25-14.
-Mason responded to Shayka's kill which opened the scoring in the second set with six unanswered points and regained the momentum. Later in the set a kill by junior outside hitter Radoslav Popov gave Mason a six-point lead at 19-13, but Lees-McRae responded with its best run in the match, 4-0, and came within two at 19-17 on an ace from Sobel. After head coach Jay Hosack called a timeout, the Patriots came out of the huddle strong and won six of the last seven points of the set to win it 25-18.
-Sturdy defense from Lees-McRae forced an early Mason timeout in the third set when the Patriots' lead was just one, 6-5. Three consecutive errors by the Bobcats after the break, however, allowed Mason to pull away by three, a lead that was later doubled by a kill from freshman outside hitter Aaron Cymbor on his first collegiate swing, 16-10. The Bobcats managed to come within five at 21-16 on an ace by Hector Serviat, but that could not prevent the Patriots to comfortably close the set and match at 25-17.
-Mason recorded a season-high team hitting percentage for a second night in a row, .500, and finished 44 attack attempts with success. Lees-McRae hit .111 on the night, which materialized to 25 kills.
-The Patriots' defense proved more resilient, outdigging the Bobcats 27-16 and outblocking them 4-1.5.
-Each team had three aces apiece through different players with Payne recording the first ace in his intercollegiate career.
NEXT ON THE COURT
In the last weekend of its eight-match home stand next week, the Patriots will return to conference play and host Harvard for a pair of matches on Friday and Saturday.