Fairfield, CT- In a thrilling five set affair, that took over two hours, the Sacred Heart Men's Volleyball team came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the George Mason Patriots Saturday night at the Pitt Center. Nick Hunt (Uniondale, NY) racked up a match high 23 kills while Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Bradley Borsay (Richmond, RI) notched 15 and 10 kills, respectively. TheSHU defense played well in the win, limiting the Patriots to a .099 hitting percentage and forcing them to commit 30 attacking errors.
Sacred Heart (4-7, 1-2 EIVA) found themselves down 3-0 to the Patriots in the first set, but would rally to tie it at 6-6. The Pioneers would get a kill by Mackenzie, to take a 9-8 lead that they would never relinquish. From there, SHU engineered a 9-2 run that would put them up 15-10. The Pioneers would close out the set on a 6-0 spurt, highlighted by a kill by Nick Hunt and a service ace by John Lutjen (Smithtown, NY), which also clinched the set for the Pioneers 25-16. Sacred Heart finished the opening stanza with a hitting percentage of .387; making 14 kills and only four errors. On the other hand, the Patriots only managed just a .111 hitting percentage with six errors.
George Mason (4-6, 1-1 EIVA) rallied and went on a 10-3 run early in the second to build a 12-5 cushion. The Pioneers would cut the lead to three at 19-16 on an attack error by George Mason, but SHU would get no closer in the second set. SHU was held to a -.043 hitting percentage and made 11 errors as the Patriots took the second set 25-19.
The Pioneers and Patriots battled back and forth in the middle set that and traded runs to bookend the set. The Pioneers had the first surge of the third set with a 6-3 run to make the score 6-5 Pioneers. From then on, neither team would claim a lead larger than two points. It was the Patriots who sprinted home down the stretch, breaking an 18-18 deadlock with a 7-0 that was sparked by a SHU service ace. Hunt would lead the Pioneers in kills for the third straight set with five.
Sacred Heart dominated the fourth set early and often. SHU went on three separate runs of 6-3, 7-3, and 8-3 that provided all the firepower they would need to force a fifth set. Hunt, Borsay, and Mackenzie took charge for SHU, as the trio all registered four kills. The Pioneers had a match high .458 hitting percentage and slammed home 12 kills while only making one error. Sacred Heart controlled the tempo throughout the set and held George Mason to a -.071 hitting percentage.
At a blink of an eye, the Pioneers saw themselves down 5-0 to begin the fifth set. However, SHU stormed back with a 10-2 run, triggered once again by a Hunt kill. The crowd grew louder with each point as SHU built a 10-7 lead that they would never surrender. Sacred Heart would score the last two points of the match to lock up the 15-12 victory as Hunt blasted a kill of the GMU block to end the night.
Sacred Heart will continue EIVA play next weekend as Saint Francis (PA) and #5 Penn State come to the Pitt Center.