Penn State, GCU Win in Five, Fort Wayne Upsets Saint Francis in Four

  0 Wendy Mayer | February 02nd, 2018 | Big West, College - Men's Indoor, Conference Carolinas, EIVA, MIVA, MPSF, News

No. 15 Fort Wayne continued to gain respect in the national spotlight as the newly ranked squad posted a four-set road win over No. 12 Saint Francis on Friday. Also coming out with wins were No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 Lewis, No. 9 Grand Canyon and No. 10 Penn State. King came up victorious in a Conference Carolinas road match.


King def. Erskine 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-19)

Key Stats: Eleven blocks helped King hold Erskine to a .000 hitting effort on the night en route to the sweep. Meanwhile, the Tornado hit .288 and outdid the Flying Fleet in kills (32-25) and digs (35-27). Erskine outserved King 5-2, but that was not enough to overcome 25 miscues.

Stat Leaders: Senior outside Jeff Sprayberry downed a match-high 12 kills hit .333 for King, while senior right side Kiel Bell added seven kills, a team-leading 13 digs and four blocks. Junior middle Jon Wheaton tacked on five kills and put up a team-high four blocks.

Freshman outside Josh Bragg tallied 10 kills and three blocks to lead Erskine. Freshman outside Daniel Hermida notched six kills and three aces, but hit -.045 for the night. Freshman middle JP Payne chipped in three blocks.

It Was Over When: King turned a 2-0 deficit into a 7-3 advantage in Set 3 and held the upper hand the rest of the way. Four Erskine miscues and back-to-back blocks by Dalton Johnson gave the Tornado the edge. The Flying Fleet narrowed the gap to two at 14-12 on an ace by Matt Friddle. King scored nine of the next 13 with two Dalton blocks and kills by three different players, to go up 23-16 and put the match away. A service error and a Bell putaway capped the 25-19 victory.


#15 Fort Wayne def. #12 Saint Francis 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22)

Key Stats: Twenty two more kills and three more blocks were the difference for the Mastodons in a four-set road win over Saint Francis, which pushed the team to its best ever start at 8-0. Fort Wayne bested the Red Flash in kills (58-36), hitting percentage (.292 to .112) and blocks (9-6). SFU outserved the victors 6-4 in aces.

Stat Leaders: Redshirt junior outside Tony Price led a group of three Mastodon players in double-digit kills with 16, while hitting at a .444 clip and adding nine digs. Redshirt junior outside Colton Stone (15) and sophomore outside Pelegrin Vargas (15) followed. Junior setter Michael Keegan notched a double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore middle Richie Diedrich put up a team-leading five blocks.

Senior outside Brandon Buck and redshirt senior outside Stephen Braswell paced SFU with 11 and 10 kills respectively. Braswell also served up two aces alongside junior outside Cole Thompson, who was one of four players with two blocks apiece.

It Was Over When: The Mastodons led by six early in Set 4 at 10-4 behind four Diedrich blocks. Three SFU miscues and a pair of Price putaways made it 15-8 Fort Wayne. The set was far from over however as the Red Flash rallied from down eight at 19-11 to within two at 23-21. Seven of SFU’s 10 points came on Mastodon miscues. A Stone kill made it 24-21 Fort Wayne and a Price putdown sealed the 25-22 win two plays later.


#9 Grand Canyon def. Lindenwood 3-2 (25-19, 16-25, 19-25, 25-22, 16-14)

Key Stats: Lindenwood piled up 19.5 blocks and served up nine aces, but it was not enough to give to earn the victory. Despite a 12-point deficit in blocks (19.5 to 7.5), a six-point deficit in aces (9-3) and trailing .266 to .132 in hitting efficiency, GCU made up the difference with nine more kills (54-43) and eight less aces (28-20).

Stat Leaders: Senior outside Shalev Saada and redshirt senior outside Cullen Mosher registered 12 kills apiece to lead the Lopes. Mosher also added a team-best 12 digs and a team-leading five blocks. Junior outside Will Schwob tallied nine kills, eight digs and two aces, while hitting at a team-best .333 clip.

Sophomore outside Michael Jennings headlined the Lindenwood effort with 20 kills, seven digs and seven blocks. Junior middle Connor Hipelius added 11 kills and eight blocks, while hitting .364, and sophomore middle Sam Schindler followed with eight kills, eight blocks and three aces. Senior outside Nathan Van Dellen also served up three aces.

It Was Over When: Lindenwood lost the decisive fifth set despite outhitting GCU .571 to .294 in the stanza, which featured 12 ties. After a knot-up at nine, a service error and Johnny Winkler putaway gave the Lions the 11-9 edge. The Lopes called timeout and scored four of the next five, including a Schwob ace and two Lindenwood service errors. A service error put GCU up 14-13, but a Schindler kill leveled the score. Putdowns by Saada and Schwob wrapped up the win at 16-14.


#8 Lewis def. #16 USC 3-0 (42-40, 25-17, 25-16)

Key Stats: Lewis made good on nearly half of its offensive attempts, hitting .474 for the match, while also besting USC 7-4 in aces and 10-4 in blocks. The Trojans did manage two more kills (47-45), while hitting at a .238 clip.

The 42-40 opening stanza score tied USC records for most points scored and allowed in a set, matching a 2017 second set loss to UC Irvine.

Stat Leaders: Redshirt sophomore outside Ryan Coenen and redshirt junior opposite Mitch Perinar did the bulk of the damage for Lewis, combining for 30 of the team’s 45 kills. Coenen had a standout effort with 20 kills, while hitting .621 (20-2-29), serving up three aces and adding six digs and three blocks. Perinar hit .556 with 10 kills in 18 errorless swings. Redshirt freshman middle Tyler Mitchem followed with nine kills, while hitting .727 (9-1-11). Redshirt freshman middle TJ Murray notched four kills and a team-leading five stuffs.

Junior outside Gianluca Grasso was the lone Trojan with double-digit kills, downing 14 putaways to go with two of the team’s four aces. Redshirt junior outside Jack Wyett (9), freshman middle Sam Lewis (8), junior outside Ryan Moss (7) and freshman middle Kyle Gear (6) followed. Gear hit at an errorless .667 clip (6-0-9), while Lewis hit .583 (8-1-12). Moss also accounted for a team-best four blocks.

It Was Over When: After a tie at 5-all, the Flyers ran away with the set, scoring nine of the next 14 points. Five USC errors and two blocks and a kill by Coenen guided the Lewis run. The Trojans were within three at 14-11 after a Grasso ace, but would get no closer. The Flyers outscored USC 11-5 down the stretch. Three Coenen kills and two kills and a block by Mitchem put Lewis up 24-15. A service error gave the Flyers the 25-16 and the match.


#7 Ohio State def. Charleston (WV) 3-0 (25-17, 25-9, 25-23)

Key Stats: The Buckeyes outhit Charleston .372 to .038 and nearly doubled the Golden Eagles’ kill tally (40-21) in a sweep. Ohio State also served up six aces, while allowing just one, and outblocked UC 10-7.

Stat Leaders: Redshirt freshman opposite Jake Hanes posted an all-around effort to lead Ohio State with 12 kills, four digs, three blocks and two aces. Senior outside Maxime Hervoir added 11 kills, four digs and four aces. Redshirt senior middle Nick Laffin put up at a team-high five blocks. Junior setter Sanil Thomas just missed a double-double with 32 assists, nine digs and two aces. All six Buckeyes with a kill hit at a .240 or better clip.

Freshman outside Max Senica notched eight kills, seven digs and three blocks to pace Charleston. Two players – sophomore middle Adriel Roberts and senior outside Ryan Santos – added three kills apiece. Roberts also accounted for five blocks.

It Was Over When: After winning Set 2 25-9, the Buckeyes built an 11-5 lead in Set 3 as Charleston committed five miscues and Hanes tallied a kill, two blocks and an ace. Hervoir downed two kills and Laffin, Leeson and Reese Devilbiss added one apiece as OSU jumped ahead seven at 16-9. The Eagles were within three at 19-16  as three players turned in kills. A Hervoir putaway made it 23-19 Ohio State, but Charleston was within one at 23-22 after a kill and an ace by Rajahl Moxey. A hitting error and a Devilbiss kill finally ended the match at 25-23.


#10 Penn State def. Ball State 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-10)

  • Penn State moves to 4-2; Ball State falls to 4-5)
  • University Park, Pa.
  • Box Score
  • Penn State Recap / Ball State Recap

Key Stats: Penn State edged Ball State in every statistical category in the Nittany Lions’ second five-set win of the season. PSU outhit the Cardinals .303 to .203 and bested its foes in kills (51-49), aces (10-9) and blocks (10-9).

Stat Leaders: Redshirt senior Jalen Penrose accounted for 16 kills, six aces and five digs to lead the Nittany Lions. Redshirt senior outside Aidan Albrecht and redshirt junior outside Matthew McLaren chipped in 12 kills apiece. Albrecht also added nine digs, while hitting at a team-high .500 clip, while McLaren added five digs and four blocks. Redshirt senior middle Kevin Gear chipped in a team-best six blocks and five kills.

A trio of BSU players managed double-digit efforts, led by sophomore outside Matt Szews‘ 11. Sophomore middle Blake Reardon and senior outside Mitch Weiler added 10 kills apiece, each hitting .250 or better. Szews also served up three of the team’s nine aces, while Weiler finished off a double-double with a team-high 10 digs. Senior middle Anthony Lebryk put up a match-high seven blocks and seven kills, while hitting .455.

It Was Over When: After trailing 5-3 in Set 5, Penn State rallied with seven straight points to go up 10-5 and take a lead it would not relinquish. Penrose served up three aces in the rally, while Gear and Braswell teamed up on two blocks. The Nittany Lions went up six at 13-7 after a 3-0 run including a Gear solo stuff and Albrecht putaway. A service error put PSU on the hill at 14-8, but a pair of miscues kept the match going. Finally, a service error gave Penn State the 15-10 victory.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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