FORT WAYNE – The IPFW men’s volleyball team used a strong first two sets, followed by an energy-charged third set to sweep past the Lindenwood Lions in the 2014 regular season finale at the Gates Sports center. The Mastodons’ balanced offensive and defensive attack helped pave the way for wins of 25-23, 25-22, and 25-18.
With the win the team picks up its 20th win, the first time since 2007 that the team has reached the 20-win plateau. Also for the first time since 2007, the Mastodons will host a MIVA Tournament contest, when the squad will face off against Ohio State on Saturday, April 19 in a 7 p.m. first serve.
Andrew Sellan put down a match-high 12 kills in the match, while Bryan Saunders added 11 while hitting .556. Two others – Eddie Rivera and Ramon Burgos – each added eight kill in the win for the Mastodons. Omar Rivera dished out 37 assists, while serving up two of the team’s four service aces. Omar Rivera also led the team with nine digs, as Eddie Rivera and JW Kieckhefer each added six. Saunders led the team with four blocks.
The two teams went back and forth for the majority of the first set, with a dozen tie scores and six lead changes, the last tie score coming at 13-13 before the Mastodons ran off five consecutive points, including a pair of Omar Rivera service aces that sandwiched a Lindenwood timeout. The Lions fought back and closed the gap to as few as one at 24-23; however, an Eddie Rivera kill closed the door on any comeback attempt, giving IPFW the 25-23 opening-set win.
There were another 12 ties and six lead changes in the middle of the thiree sets, and it looked as if Lindenwood would even the overall match score, as the visitors led 20-18 late in the second set. IPFW, however, had different ideas, as the hosts used a 5-0 run, capped by a Saunders and Omar Rivera block, and ended the set on a 7-2 run to take a 2-0 set lead heading into the break between sets two and three.
Lindenwood struck first in the third set, before IPFW ran off four straight points, and never looked back, using high-energy offense and defense to pull away in a 25-18 third-set win.
Kyle Overby led Lindenwood with 11 kills, while Michael Adams had 10. Tim Schmidt dished out 35 assists, while Adams had three blocks.