Men's Volleyball

George Mason survives three-set battle with Bobcats

George Mason survives three-set battle with Bobcats

FAIRFAX, Va. --- Javier Jimenez (San Sebastian, Puerto Rico) and Efrain Negron (Caguas, Puerto Rico) recorded match-highs of 11 kills and 10 digs, respectively, to pace the Lees-McRae College men's volleyball team on Saturday evening, as NCAA Division I George Mason University battled to a narrow three-set victory over the Bobcats in non-conference play.

George Mason (11-10) won the match by scores of 25-21, 25-19, and 25-22, posting a .244 hitting percentage in the contest while holding Lees-McRae (16-9) to a .224 clip on the attack. The Bobcats tallied 35 kills, 27 digs, and nine blocks on the night, as the Patriots posted 38 smashes, 22 digs, and five and a half stuffs.

Jimenez paced the Bobcats with 11 kills on 23 swings, adding six digs, as Negron dug out a match-high 10 Mason attacks. Jose Ribas (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) posted eight smashes, while Joshua Jones (Christmas, Fla.) tallied a match-high five block assists. Randy Ramirez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) chipped in 27 assists, as he and Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, Ohio) each recorded three block assists.

Michael Kvidahl led the way for George Mason with 11 kills, as Jonathan Lutz and Shaun Sibley added eight and seven smashes, respectively. Javier Perez chipped in a match-high 31 assists to go along with eight digs, while Kvidahl posted three block assists and a contest-best six service aces.

George Mason jumped out to an early 10-7 lead in the first set before the Bobcats responded with a 5-1 run, claiming a narrow 12-11 advantage on a kill by John Lucas (Cincinnati, Ohio).

After Mason countered with a 4-1 spurt, Lees-McRae answered with four straight points, taking a 17-15 lead on a Patriot miscue. The Patriots quickly countered with a 6-2 run, opening a 21-19 advantage following a block by Kvidahl and Sibley before capping the set, 25-21, with back-to-back points after a kill from Ribas.

The Bobcats responded in the early moments of the second, taking an 8-5 lead on a block by Harpenau and Lucas before Mason countered, launching an 11-5 run to claim a 16-13 advantage following a Lutz smash. After Ribas answered with an emphatic kill, Mason launched a 9-5 spurt to close out the set, capping the frame on a Lutz smash.

Mason carried the momentum into the third, opening the set with a 10-5 run before the Bobcats countered with three straight points to trim the margin to 10-8. After Lees-McRae cut the lead to 14-12 on tandem block by Jones and Jimenez, the Patriots answered with back-to-back points to claim a 16-12 advantage following an ace by Lutz.

The Bobcats quickly countered with a 3-0 spurt, trimming the lead to 16-15 on a Mason miscue before Ramirez gave Lees-McRae a 19-18 advantage with a kill. Mason answered with a 7-3 run, capping the set and the contest on a Bobcat miscue after Hunter Stevens pushed Lees-McRae to match point with an ace.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Thursday, March 28 when the Bobcats travel to Romeoville, Ill. to take on No. 7 Lewis University in non-conference play at 7 p.m.

- LMC -