Mason men's volleyball defeats UPRRP, 3-0

Mason men's volleyball defeated Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras 25-18, 25-21 and 25-19 on Saturday night (photo by Gopi Raghu).
Mason men's volleyball defeated Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras 25-18, 25-21 and 25-19 on Saturday night (photo by Gopi Raghu).

The Mason men’s volleyball team defeated the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras 3-0 sets on Saturday at the Recreation and Athletic Complex in Fairfax, Va.

Mason (4-2) took the individual sets 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 and repeated Thursday night’s straight-set win against the Gallitos (2-2).

Redshirt sophomore opposite hitter Paco Velez and redshirt freshman Jack Wilson led the team with 10 kills each, while Velez also registered four serve aces and 10 digs. At the same time, Gabriel Colon and Carlos Acosta stood out from UPRRP by registering 13 and nine kills, respectively.

The beginning of the first set was evenly matched as both teams exchanged kills and errors alike, neither of them being able to pull away. The Patriots were the first team to pull away by two at 9-7 with a service ace by freshman Radoslav Popov, but the Gallitos were always close and managed to tie it at 11. The turning point of the set came when a service error by Colon was followed by two aces by Velez, who gave Mason a 16-13 and forced the Gallitos’ coach to eventually call for a timeout. However, the Patriots won four straight points coming out of the timeout and built a lead that would help them close the set in their favor.

The second set was going the same way, this time UPRRP dictating the tempo, but a kill by Velez and two attacking errors by the Gallitos helped Mason go into double digits with a two point lead. The Patriots held the lead for the following minutes, but UPRRP managed to get back on level terms at 19-19. Velez showed iron nerves and with back-to-back points recovered Mason’s two-point lead that the Gallitos could not overcome.

Mason brought the momentum they had into the third set and built up an early lead at 6-2. From there on, coach Fred Chao’s team never let their opponent tie the score, although the efforts of the Gallitos were enough to get within one point on several occasions. Mason, on the other hand, closed out the set and match at 25-19 by winning the last three points of the contest.

The Patriots remain at home for the upcoming week and will face Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne and Ball State University next weekend. These will be the team’s last two matches before it opens play in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

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