Hot Hitting Carries No. 14 Geoge Mason Past East Stroudsburg
Fairfax, Va. - No. 14 George Mason was able to avoid a letdown one night after upsetting the top-ranked and previously undefeated Penn State Nittany Lions. The Patriots survived a shaky start to down the East Stroudsburg Warriors in three games (31-29, 30-14, 30-22) in EIVA Tait Division men's volleyball action on Saturday afternoon at the Fieldhouse.
With the win, Mason improves its record to 12-6 overall and 5-3 in conference matches. East Stroudsburg drops to 2-12 overall and winless in conference matches with an 0-9 mark following the loss.
The Patriots had a tough time putting away the Warriors in the first game and things looked bleak when junior opposite hitter Kyle Gramit's serve sailed long to give East Stroudsburg a 29-27 lead and game point. Gramit quickly atoned for his error, though, putting away sophomore Ryan Kwiatkowski's set on the ensuing rally to bring Mason within a point. East Stoudsburg's Jesse Landis was unable to handle senior outside hitter Mark Burik's jump serve on the next point, giving Burik an ace to tie the game at 29. Senior middle blocker R.J. Goubeaux broke the tie on the next point with a kill to bring the Patriots within a point of ending the game. Goubeaux played a major role in bringing the game to a quick close, combining with Kwiatkowski to block Don Hanna's attempt to give Mason a 31-29 opening game victory.
After coming from behind to take the opening game, the Patriots cruised through the next two games. In the second game, the score was tied at four when Mason went on a 6-0 run to take an early 10-4 lead. East Stroudsburg was clearly rattled as sophomore opposite hitter Chris Holden could be visibly seen and heard by the crowd at the Fieldhouse attempting to motivate his teammates in the huddle. However, the motivational tactics fell short as the Patriots were never seriously tested in a 30-14 win to go up 2-0 in the match.
The third game was more of the same as George Mason took an early lead at 7-6 on a kill by Burik. After taking the lead, the Patriots seized control of the game and took a 30-22 victory to win the match.
Mason hit a sizzling .500 in the match as six players recorded a hitting percentage of .400 or better. On the other side, East Stroudsburg hit only .107 in the match as the Patriot middle blockers contested every attack by the Warriors. East Stroudsburg recorded a negative hitting percentage in each of the final two games after beginning the match well, hitting .424 in the opening game.
George Mason is off until Thursday, March 20 when it returns to the court to take on EIVA Tait Division foe St. Francis (Pa.). First serve is slated for 7 p.m. at the Fieldhouse.
Article courtesy of George Mason athletics.