Mason Sports Roundup

Posted: January 29, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

In addition to men’s basketball action reported yesterday, men’s volleyball, women’s basketball and tennis, and the wrestling, swim and dive as well as track and field squads were in action over the weekend.

Men’s Volleyball

The 12th-ranked Mason men’s volleyball team found itself in a familiar position on Saturday at Alumni Gym in Chicago, Ill., up 2-1 on the road against a nationally-ranked opponent in no. 14 Loyola (Ill.). Just one day ago, the Patriots were in the same position against no. 9 IPFW but were unable to hold on for the victory.

This time around, Mason refused to allow its opponent back into the match, defeating the Ramblers in four games (29-31, 30-20, 30-26, 31-29).

Mason fell behind early, dropping a back-and-forth first game, 31-29. The Patriots held a 28-26 lead in the game but were unable to close out the Ramblers as Loyola won three straight points to take the lead. After a kill by junior opposite hitter Kyle Gramit tied the score at 29, Loyola closed out the game on back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Joe Guntli.

George Mason’s attack turned up the heat in the second and third games, hitting .524 in a 10-point game two victory and .531 in a four-point game three win. In the second game, the Patriots took an early lead at 4-3 and never trailed. In the third game, the score was tied at 23 when Mason took over, finishing the game on a 7-3 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Gramit scored the final point of the game with a kill off of a nice feed from sophomore setter Ryan Kwiatkowski.

In the fourth game, the Patriots got off to a great start, scoring the first three points. After the tough start, Loyola kept its composure and held a one-point lead at 28-27 after a kill by Guntli. Mason won the next two points to force match point at 29-28. However, a service error by Gramit extended the match, tying the score at 29.

Gramit made up for his error, though, with a booming swing to give the Patriots the next point and a 30-29 lead. With the match on the line, senior middle blocker R.J. Goubeaux and Kwiatkowski formed a wall at the net and blocked senior opposite hitter Ian Anderson’s attack to close out the win for Mason.

Gramit carried the Patriots’ attack all night long, finishing the match with a career-high 30 kills. He also had two aces and seven blocks. Junior outside hitter Hudson Bates chipped in 11 kills, while Goubeaux finished with 10 kills, along with a match-high eight blocks. Kwiatkowski narrowly missed a double-double with 54 assists and nine digs.

Four players finished with double-digit kills for the Ramblers. Anderson led the way with 23, Guntli had 16, sophomore outside hitter Krisjanis Berzins also finished with 16 and junior middle blocker Nick Lamoureux tallied 10.

George Mason plays its first EIVA Tait Division match of the season on Friday, Feb. 1, against St. Francis in Loretto, Pa. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Swimming and Diving

The Mason women’s swimming and diving team completed a trifecta on Saturday with meet victories over American, Army, and Old Dominion. Meanwhile, the men picked up a win over American in a quad meet held at the Jim McKay Natatorium.

Mason’s women notched the three victories by defeating American 211-82, edging Colonial Athletic Association foe Old Dominion by a 161-139 margin and recording a resounding 221-79 win against Army. The men’s squad defeated AU by a 200-91 score, while falling 204-95 to ODU and 215-85 to the Black Knights.

Senior Sarah Bizer won three events while sophomore Caitlin Impink picked up two individual victories to pace the Patriot women. Bizer took first place in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events with times of 23.67 and 52.53, respectively, as well as a 58.43 winning time in the 100-yard butterfly. Impink won the 200-yard freestyle (1:55.55) and 200-yard butterfly (2:09.32) for the Patriots. On the men’s side, junior Eric Knight was the Patriots’ lone event winner of the day.

Mason swept the women’s diving portion of the meet, with wins in the 1-meter board by sophomore Charlotte Edwards (257.00) and a victory by freshman Lisa Faulkner in the three-meter event with a score of 267.15.

In the relay events, the women picked up victories in the 200-yard medley relay (1:49.25) and 400-yard freestyle relay (3:36.55). The men’s squad of sophomore Ryan David, Knight, sophomore Tad Ogren and freshman Spencer Roe garnered first place with a 1:36.86 time in the 200 medley relay.

The Patriots are back in action next Saturday when they host George Washington at 1 p.m.

Track and Field

The Mason track and field program hosted the Patriot Games on Saturday at the Field House. Both the men’s and women’s teams had a successful day at the meet, with the men finishing in first place in the team scoring with 128 points and the women placing second with 87 points.

The men’s team dominated the 400-meter dash, taking the top four spots in the race. Junior Mutsa Nyakabau took first place with a time of 50.18 seconds. He was followed, in order, by sophomore Marcus Wyche (50.72), senior MacGregor Lennarz (50.98) and junior Nate Harris (51.29).

In the 800-meter run, sophomore Matt Bailey crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 1:59.15. Teammate Erin McWhorter wasn’t far behind, finishing third with a time of 2:00.14. The men’s team also fared well in the relays, with the top team in both the 4×400-meter relay race and the 4×800-meter relay, which ran a time of 7:51.71, lower than the IC4A qualifying standard of 7:53.00.

Junior Murielle Ahoure ran her first race of the 2008 season for the Patriot women’s team, and she qualified provisionally for the NCAA Indoor Championships and also qualified for the ECAC Championships in the 60-meter dash. Ahoure ran the fastest time of any athlete in the preliminary heats, crossing the finish line in 7.32 seconds.

Despite qualifying, Ahoure didn’t race in the finals of the event. Teammate Marie Fields did, however, and she took first place with a time of 7.72 seconds to qualify for the ECAC Championships and set a new personal record. Freshman Britney Streeter (7.76) and junior Ryann Hendricks (7.97) finished third and fourth in the event, respectively.

Tiara Swindell ran the 400-meter dash for the first time this season and finished second in the event, running a time of 56.86 seconds to top the ECAC qualifying standard and finish in second place. Swindell already qualified for the ECAC Championships in the 500-meter dash at Mason’s last home meet on Jan. 5.

Sophomore Asia Odum also hit the ECAC qualifying standard at the meet with an impressive performance in the 60-meter hurdles. Odum finished second in the finals of the event to Howard’s Alexandria Lemonious, crossing the finish line in 8.72 seconds. Lemonious clocked in at 8.67 seconds.

The women’s team won the 4×400-meter relay race with a time of 3:52.35, topping the ECAC qualifying standard of 3:53.94.

The men’s team will next compete at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Feb. 2. The women’s team will travel to University Park, Pa., to compete in the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup Feb. 1-2.

Women’s Basketball

Senior Lateisha Wade reached double figures for the 13th time this season, but the UNCW Seahawks pulled away from the Mason women’s basketball team for a 63-47 victory in Colonial Athletic Association action on Sunday at Trask Coliseum.

Mason (8-10, 2-5 CAA) was unable to overcome the Seahawks’ (11-7, 2-5) potent offensive attack, as UNCW shot 52.3 percent (23-44) from the field.

Wade’s 17 points paced the Mason offense, while UNCW saw three scorers reach double figures in the game. Greta Luksyte and Brittany Blackwell led the Seahawks with 20 and 17 points, respectively, while Sahsha Taylor chipped in 12.

UNCW captured much of the early momentum, opening the game on an 8-2 run in the first four minutes of the game. After the scheduled timeout, Luksyte expanded the Seahawk lead to nine after her second three-pointer, but a pair of baskets by Brittany Eley and Casey Quigley forced a UNCW timeout with the score 11-6.

After four unanswered points by the Seahawks returned the lead to nine points, Wade drained a three to make the score 15-9 with 11:21 showing on the clock.

The Patriots would be held scoreless for the next four minutes, until Whitney Ward’s layup closed the gap to 22-11 at the 7:19 mark. The Seahawks, though, built their lead as large as 15 before a 6-4 Mason scoring advantage to end the half left the score 35-22 in UNCW’s favor. In the first half, UNCW out-shot the Patriots by a 56.0-to-36.0 percent field goal margin, including 4-for-5 shooting from behind the arc for the Seahawks.

UNCW continued its hot shooting into the second half, opening the period on a 10-2 run over 4:36 with just one missed field goal in that stretch. While the Patriots held the Seahawk offense at bay for 3:29 during the second half, Mason was unable to overcome the gap as the Seahawks earned their second conference victory of the season.

Mason will try again for its third CAA victory when it continues its road trip on Thursday to CAA foe James Madison for a 7 p.m. contest.

Women’s Tennis

The Patriots women’s tennis team finished 1-2 in the VCU 4+1 Invitational held last weekend at the Thalhimer Tennis Center in Richmond, Va. After dropping their first match to Campbell, Mason defeated Hampton 3-2 before falling to no. 30 VCU, 5-0 on Sunday.

Top singles players and freshman Lindsay Gray defeated Hampton’s Syreeta Thompson, 6-2, 6-4, and the doubles team of Sarah Dieffenbach and Meredith Cutchin defeated Maya Morgan and Janelle Small, 7-5, 7-6 (4) for two of Mason’s points. Senior Julie Moscato won by default to finish out the scoring.

“I was very pleased with the overall performance of this very young Mason team,” said Head Coach Steve Curtis. “I feel like we are at a good place for this point of the season. Not often do we get to play strong teams such as VCU, the 30th ranked team in the nation.”

The team has a record of 2-2. Their next match is scheduled for Feb. 16 at Mary Washington.

Wrestling

The Patriots closed out last weekend’s meet at West Gym in Vestal, N.Y., in impressive fashion for a 22-15 victory over Binghamton in Colonial Athletic Association action. With the win, Mason improved its record to 9-3 overall and 5-2 in conference dual meets, while Binghamton fell to 7-9 overall and 3-4 in CAA meets.

The Patriots took an early 10-0 lead with two decisions and a major decision in the first three bouts. However, Binghamton erased the deficit with wins at the next three weight classes, including a fall by junior Nate Patterson at 157 pounds.

Perhaps the most critical match of the meet came at 174 pounds with Mason trailing 12-10. Senior Randy Oates faced a tough test in BU sophomore Josh Patterson, ranked 19th in the nation by InterMat and 20th by Amateur Wrestling News. Forty-one seconds into the third and final period, Oates pinned Patterson to put the momentum back in Mason’s favor.

Despite a loss at 184 pounds, George Mason closed out the match with wins in the final two weight classes to earn the 22-15 win. Freshman Cayle Byers, ranked 17th in the country by InterMat, and senior Harry Zander both won by decision.

The Patriots hit the mat again on Sunday, Feb. 3, taking on the Old Dominion Monarchs, the 22nd-ranked team in the nation in the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll. The meet is scheduled to begin at noon at the Field House.

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