Mason men’s volleyball opens rivalry weekend with a 3-1 loss to St. Francis (Pa.)

Mason won the second set against St. Francis on Friday, but ultimately fell in the match 3-1 sets (photo by Maurice Jones).
Mason won the second set against St. Francis on Friday, but ultimately fell in the match 3-1 sets (photo by Maurice Jones).

The Mason men’s volleyball team lost to St. Francis (Pa.) 3-1 sets Friday night at the RAC, 25-22, 25-22, 27-25 and 25-22.  

After losing the first set to the Red Flash, Mason came back and won the second set. The Patriots fell in a close third set, and could not overcome an early lead by St. Francis in the fourth set to lose the opening match of the weekend, 3-1.

Freshmen Radoslav Popov and Christian Malias led the Patriots with 15 kills each, followed by redshirt sophomore Paco Velez, who had 12. Popov and Velez also registered six and seven digs, respectively. St. Francis’ top scorer on the night was redshirt senior Mark Kochan with 15 kills, while classmate Kyle Beatty had 11, along with nine digs. The night was special for the Red Flash’s senior Logan Patterson, who registered nine kills and surpassed the 1,000-kills mark of his career.

The Patriots were first to make a run in the match and led 7-4 early on. The Red Flash fought back to level terms and took the lead at 12-10. Another three-point run followed and Mason coach Fred Chao took a timeout when his team trailed, 17-13. The team shortened the deficit to one but a kill by Kochan and an attack error by junior Hunter Stevens gave St. Francis a comfortable 22-19 lead late in the set. Chao called a second timeout but the Red Flash retained its lead and won the set, 25-22.

The second set started better for the visitors as they led 5-2, but Mason won six of the following seven points. The Red Flash (9-5, 4-1) then tied it at 10 and managed to take the lead in several occasions. When the teams were tied once again at 17, Malias stepped up to serve for the Patriots. Two kills by Popov followed an attack error by Beatty and the Patriots had a 20-17 lead in the closing stages of the set. A few minutes later, it was a kill by Malias that settled the set 25-22 in Mason’s favor.

St. Francis opened the third set by scoring four unanswered points, which forced Chao to call an early timeout. The Patriots came out of it and quickly tied the score at five. The teams were also tied at 10, but the Red Flash went on a run to grab its largest lead of the set at 15-12. The Patriots came up with a quick response after the timeout that followed and eventually took a two-point lead at 18-16. In the dramatic closing of the set the Patriots had a set point at 24-23, but a kill by Beatty brought the Red Flash back on level terms. A kill by Velez then neutralized the visitors’ first opportunity to close the set, but with consecutive kills by Patterson and Beatty the Red Flash managed to take a 2-1 set lead in the match.

The fourth set began even better for the Red Flash as they went on a 6-0 run to start on Beatty’s serve. The lead grew to seven at 10-3, but Mason narrowed the deficit to just two with four kills by Malias and an attack error by St. Francis sophomore Mike Marshman. The Red Flash’s lead, however, quickly grew back to six at 15-9 after a sequence of attack errors by Mason players. After a timeout, the Patriots slowly crept back into the set and tied the score at 20. Mason then allowed the opponent to pull away and made two consecutive attack errors to end the set at 25-22 and the match at 3-1 in favor of the Red Flash.

Next up, Mason hosts EIVA archrival Penn State on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the RAC, and will try to hand the Nittany Lions their first conference loss of the season. St. Francis, on the other hand, continues its six-game road trip with a match against Princeton University.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
Student Media Group: