No. 12 George Mason Clinches Second Seed in the EIVA Tournament With Win Over Princeton

4/11/2008

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Fairfax, Va. - With a 3-0 win over Princeton (11-9, 6-6 EIVA Tait) on Friday evening at the Fieldhouse, the 12th-ranked George Mason men's volleyball team clinched the second seed at the upcoming EIVA Championship Tournament, and with it a bye to the semifinal round of the tournament, which will be held on April 24 at the home of top-seeded Penn State. The Patriots are now 18-7 overall and 8-3 in EIVA Tait Division matches with one match left in the regular season.

Mason avenged a loss to Princeton earlier in the season with tonight's win. On March 1, the Tigers handed the Patriots a 3-1 defeat in Princeton, N.J. With a win over Mason already and a 6-5 EIVA Tait Division record entering the match, tonight's match was critical as Princeton was the only conference school with a shot at earning the second seed other than the Patriots.

In an opening game that featured 23 ties and 10 lead changes, the Tigers had Mason on the ropes with two chances to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Down 29-27, Mason refused to go down without a fight, tying the score on consecutive kills by junior opposite hitter Kyle Gramit and senior outside hitter Hudson Bates. After Bates' kill, senior outside hitter Mark Burik served an ace to give the Patriots a one-point advantage. The teams traded the next six points, and after Brandon McLaughlin's kill gave Mason a 33-32 lead, the Patriots completed the come-from-behind win when Princeton senior Peter Eichler's attack sailed wide.

After winning the first game in dramatic fashion, Mason closed out the match with back-to-back 30-26 victories in the second and third games. The Patriots outhit the Tigers .382 to .212 and compiled 13.5 team blocks to just two for Princeton. Gramit led Mason with 12 kills, while Bates chipped in 10. Senior middle blocker R.J. Goubeaux tallied six kills on 11 swings to go along with 11 total blocks, including two solo. Burik served three aces and sophomore libero Luke Maloney led all players with 11 digs.

Junior Mike Vincent led Princeton with 13 kills on 22 swings. Eichler was the only other Tiger with double-digit kills, finishing with 12. Junior Brandon Denham totaled seven digs to lead Princeton.

Saturday's season finale will be Senior Night at the Fieldhouse, sponsored by Sportrock Climbing Centers. Prior to the start of the match, a ceremony will be held for the Patriots' three seniors - outside hitter Hudson Bates, outside hitter Mark Burik and middle blocker R.J. Goubeaux. In addition to the Senior Night festivities, fans will also get the opportunity to win great prizes from Sportrock Climbing Centers during tomorrow's match.

Tickets to the match will cost $5 for adults and $2 for youth and senior citizens. All full-time enrolled students at George Mason University will be admitted free with a valid Mason student ID. Saturday will be Mason Spirit Day. All fans that wear green or gold to the match can buy tickets for just $1.

Article courtesy of George Mason athletics.

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