FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The 11th-ranked (American Volleyball Coaches Association) IPFW men’s volleyball team held on for a five set win at Sacred Heart on Friday evening. The Mastodons finished 25-20, 26-28, 25-21, 17-25, 15-10 to improve to 4-2 on the year. Sacred Heart fell to 1-1.
Alex Harthaller earned his first career double-double after notching 11 kills and 11 digs. Andrew Sellan recorded a team-high 18 kills, while Omar Rivera lead the ‘Dons in both assists (49) and digs (12).
The Blue and White were in a tight battle with the Pioneers in the first set as Sacred Heart took a 13-10 lead midway through. The ‘Dons would respond with an 8-2 run, giving them a lead they would hold onto for the remainder of the set.
The second set was all Sacred Heart early on as the Pioneers jumped to a 15-9 lead. IPFW climbed back in the set following a four-straight points, eventually tying the set at 24. Both teams would exchange the next four points before SHU put the set away 28-26.
The third set was another nail bitter as both teams fought closely throughout. After falling behind 21-19 late in the set, the Mastodons earned six-consecutive points, taking the set 25-21. The third set saw the score tied seven times with four lead changes.
Sacred Heart and IPFW went back-and-forth early in the fourth set, tying 6-6 after the first dozen points. The Pioneers would take command of the set following a 5-0 run afterwards, eventually knotting the game with a 25-17 win in the fourth set.
Trying to avoid the upset, the ‘Dons rushed out to a 7-3 lead in the final set. With Sacred Heart fighting back, closing the gap to 10-7, the ‘Dons would finish the fifth set with a 5-3 run, capping a 3-2 win.
For the match, Sacred Heart edged IPFW 64-60 in kills, while the ‘Dons finished 51-49 in digs. Ramon Burgos led IPFW with nine blocks as the Blue and White managed 27 in all, topping Sacred Heart’s 17 blocks.
The Mastodons travel to Harvard on January 24 to face the Crimson. The match is set to begin at 4 p.m. at the William H. Pitt Center.