FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Purdue Fort Wayne men’s volleyball picked up its fifth win of the season on Friday night (Jan. 27) with a 25-22, 25-22, 25-12 win over Sacred Heart on the Arnie Ball Court.
The Mastodons’ offense rolled to a .368 clip for the match, their highest this season. That was in large part to Mark Fraizer, who was 13-3-20 for .500. Purdue Fort Wayne was also dominant from the service line, acing the Pioneers nine times while only committing nine errors.
The ‘Dons went to their two best players early and often in set one, as Frazier and Jon Diedrich combined for nine kills in the opening frame. Ryan Steponaitis got the first start of his career. After the first kill of his career, Steponaitis went back to serve and got his first ace as a collegian. Purdue Fort Wayne never led by a huge margin in set one, and was even down 21-20, but the ‘Dons finished the set on a 5-0 run. Davey Singer aced Sacred Heart on set point. The ‘Dons hit .389 in the opening frame.
Purdue Fort Wayne went up 11-7 in set two after a pair of kills from Frazier and Diedrich, but was matched by the Pioneers at 15 after a 3-0 run. The two teams were wrangled at 20 before the ‘Dons ended the second set like they did the first. This time it was a 5-2 run though. Steponaitis got a block and a kill in the final two rotations to give the ‘Dons a 2-0 lead heading into the break. Purdue Fort Wayne had one of its best sets offensively, racking up a .542 hitting percentage.
The third set was unlike the other two, as the two offenses came screeching to a halt. The ‘Dons hit .192, their lowest of the night, but managed to shut Sacred Heart down completely, as the Pioneers hit .000. The Mastodons never trailed, storming out to an 8-3 lead. Bryce Walker and Diedrich served the Mastodons to a 10-point lead at 19-9. After Singer got his second ace of the night, Carlos Mercado came in on the next rotation to serve for the match. In his first match of the season after returning from injury, Mercado had a pair of clean serves that put the Mastodons in position to take the final two points of the match.
Sergio Carrillo dished out 30 assists. Diedrich and Walker led the Mastodons with five digs each. Steponaitis had four kills with a .600 hitting clip. Mark Berry had 13 kills for Sacred Heart with a .579 hitting clip.
Purdue Fort Wayne moves to 5-1 and Sacred Heart falls to 1-3. This is the Mastodons’ best start to a season since 2018.
The Mastodons will be back in action tomorrow when they face future MIVA member Queens at 3 p.m. in the Gates Sports Center.