Fort Wayne hammers Harvard to stay unbeaten

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Behind 18 kills from Pelegrin Vargas, the Fort Wayne Mastodons topped the Harvard Crimson 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-19) on Friday (Jan. 19) on Arnie Ball Court.

Harvard took the first set after hitting a scorching .517 as a team. Brad Gretsch had eight kills in the first set alone. Fort Wayne tried to keep it close, but could not overcome two separate four-point runs from the Crimson, the latter putting them up 24-20. There were six lead changes and 15 ties in the first set.

The Mastodons pushed through the second set, despite hitting only .235 as a team. The lead for the Mastodons never reached more than four, which came at the 11-7 mark. Harvard only hit .190 in the set.

In the third, Vargas came alive and had seven kills, pushing his total through three sets to 12. Harvard led 3-0, but the ‘Dons later went on an 14-2 run to give them a 16-7 lead. Vargas had five kills in this run. The went on another 3-0 run just a few points later, with three consecutive blocks by Richie Diedrich and company. The sophomore middle blocker finished with seven blocks, just one shy of his career-high against No. 12 George Mason last season. Tony Price had six digs in the third. The Mastodons held the Crimson to -.056 in the third set thanks to 16 digs and 5.5 team blocks.

Fort Wayne never trailed in the final set of the night after taking a 4-3 edge. Vargas had six kills in the fourth, and the match was capped off by a solo block from freshman Tomas Gago.

Vargas finished with a .469 clip (18-3-32), while Gago was .500 with 5-0-10. Gago also had a career-high eight blocks. Price had eight kills for a .400 clip, while also chipping in 10 digs to lead the team. Kolbe Knorr finished with a season-high eight digs.

Fort Wayne moves to 5-0, while Harvard drops its first match of the season. The Mastodons face Sacred Heart on Saturday (Jan. 20). The Pioneers are coming off a five-set loss at Ball State.