Purdue Fort Wayne tops McKendree in five

College Sports

Purdue Fort Wayne senior Michael Keegan dished out his 3,000th career assist on Friday (Feb. 8) in the Mastodons’ five-set defensive battle withMcKendree. The ‘Dons took the win 25-21, 23-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-7. They are now on a four-match win streak.

Kade Bontrager led the Mastodon offense, ending the night with 15 kills. He started the match going 4-0-4 in the opening set, while picking up an ace. The Bearcats held close with the Mastodons and even led at 21-20, but the ‘Dons tore off five straight to go up 1-0. Keegan served up one of his two aces on the Mastodons’25th point.

McKendree used a 5-point push to jump out to an early 8-5 lead in the second set, but No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne answered with a 7-2 run to go up 15-14. Colton Stone had one of his four aces to end the run, butMcKendree pushed back to take three of the last four points.

The ‘Dons came out hot in the third with two Stone aces in the mix to go up 12-4, but then it was a set of runs. The Bearcats took six straight, followed by a 5-1 Mastodon run, then four straight forMcKendree. The ‘Dons took three more, thenMcKendree had a 4-1 push. Finally, Purdue Fort Wayne took three straight to end the set. The ‘Dons held the Bearcats to -.069 hitting for the frame.

McKendree used a 13-3 run in the fourth set to get a lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way, despite the Mastodons tying it up at 18-all. The Bearcats had seven team blocks to hold the ‘Dons to -.119.

The momentum shifted back to the Mastodons for the last set. The Bearcats were within one at 6-5, but the ‘Dons used a 9-2 push spurred byBontrager and Pelegrin Vargas, who hit a combined 8-1-12. The team hit .556 in the last set, bringing the match average up to .150. Vargas had six of his 12 digs in the last set alone, helping to holdMcKendree to .116 for the night. His 12 digs garnered him his fourth-career double-double.

Three ‘Dons were in double-figure kills. Bontrager’s 15, followed by Vargas and TomasGago with 13 and 12 respectively. Gago hit 12-2-18 for .556. Bontrager chipped in eight digs, while Keegan andKolbie Knorr six each. Keegan notched 41 assists to bring his career total to 3,022.

The Mastodons are now 2-0 in the MIVA, 8-4 overall. McKendree drops to 4-5, 1-1 MIVA. The Mastodons are set to face off against No. 13 George Mason on Saturday (Feb. 9) at 7 p.m. at home.

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