Mason Sports Roundup

Posted: February 6, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team learned its ESPN BracketBuster opponent on Feb. 23 will be Ohio University. Game time is to be announced, and the away game will be televised on an ESPN channel.

Mason, currently 16-6 and tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), will take on the Bobcats, who are presently 15-6 and tied for first in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The Patriots have won six of their past seven games to improve to 8-3 in the CAA, one game behind conference leader VCU. Ohio has also won six of seven and is currently 6-2 in the MAC’s East Division, tied for first with Kent State and Akron.

The Patriots and Ohio have never met. Mason has played against the MAC once this year, falling at Kent State. Ohio has faced one CAA school, beating Delaware at home, 78-59. Ohio is led by Leon Williams, who is averaging 16.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and shooting 60.8 percent from the field. Mason is led by Will Thomas, who is averaging 16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and is shooting 64.1 percent from the field.

Men’s Track and Field

Running for the first time this season in front of a national audience at the 101st Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Mason 4×800-meter relay team finished in fifth place with a time of 7:45.96.

Mason was one of seven college relay teams selected to run at the meet. The Patriots’ team of sophomore Michael Pachella, sophomore Sam Horn, freshman Erin McWhorter and sophomore Matt Bailey finished with the team’s top time in the event this season. The team’s previous best was 7:51.71 at last weekend’s Patriot Games.

Arkansas won the race with a time of 7:34.18. Villanova (7:35.45) finished second and Georgetown (7:39.97) rounded out the top three. Columbia finished one spot above Mason with a time of 7:43.76.

The men’s track and field team heads back to New York City next weekend to compete at the Eighth Annual New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory.

Men’s Volleyball

For the second consecutive match, the 12th-ranked Mason men’s volleyball team went the distance. This time around, the Patriots won the decisive fifth and final game over Juniata to earn the team’s first EIVA Tait Division victory of the season.

Mason appeared poised to end the match quickly, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead. However, Juniata refused to go down without a fight, taking a wild third game 33-31 and winning the fourth game 30-26 to force a fifth game.

Mason and Juniata were tied at nine in the fifth game, when the Patriots took the lead on an Eagle service error. With sophomore Luke Maloney serving, the Patriots captured the next four points to force match point. A side-out attack error returned service to Juniata, but an Eagle service error ended the match.

The Patriots were led by junior Hudson Bates, who finished with 20 kills, followed by sophomore Colton Naill’s 15 kills. Freshman Eric Lucas had 11 digs, and sophomore Erik Lanham had nine total blocks.

Matt Fritz finished the match with 17 kills, while Zach Wanner tallied 15 kills for the Eagles. Matt Werle nearly tallied a double-double with 56 assists and nine digs. Anthony Damiano recorded 10 digs.

With the win, Mason’s record now stands at 5-2 overall and 1-1 in EIVA Tait Division play. Juniata falls to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in EIVA Tait Division matches after the loss. Mason next faces Ball State in a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Feb. 8, at the Field House.

Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving

In their final competition before the Colonial Athletic Association Championship, the Mason men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams scored a pair of victories by sweeping George Washington on Saturday at home. The Mason men notched a 122-96 victory, while the women’s squad topped the Colonials by a 130-84 margin.

On the men’s side, senior Matt Kane took first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:46.06. Juniors Eric Knight and Ryan Metzker scored wins in the 100 free (47.54) and the 1-meter dive (295.72), respectively. Sophomores Tad Ogren and Steven Benecki took first in the 50 free (22.35) and 500 free (4:49.40), while freshmen Brad Erickson and Robert Kreitler picked up victories in the 1,000 free (10:05.86) and 200-yard butterfly (1:58.16).

The women’s team was led by triple-event winner sophomore Caitlin Impink, who won the 100-yard and 1,000-yard freestyle events with times of 54.42 and 10:50.91, as well as a winning time in the 200-yard individual medley of 2:13.51. Seniors Sarah Bizer, Mallory Pucci and Amanda Fielding won their respective events of the 200 free (1:56.20), 50 free (25.16) and the 1-meter dive (279.37). Rounding out the Mason winning performances were junior Allie Smith’s 2:11.84 time in the 200-yard backstroke and freshman Michelle Lozach’s 2:15.86 mark in the 200-yard butterfly. Additionally, the 400-yard medley relay team of Smith, sophomore Mary Beth Cheslock, Pucci and Bizer scored first place with a time of 4:01.03.

Women’s Basketball

A late run by Virginia Commonwealth allowed the Rams to pull away from the Mason women’s basketball team for a 63-51 Colonial Athletic Association victory Sunday afternoon before 2,524 fans at Patriot Center, the fourth-largest home crowd in Mason women’s basketball history. Mason (8-12, 2-7 CAA) dropped its third-straight game, while the Rams improved to 17-3, 7-2 in the conference.

Mason was led by double-figure outings from seniors Lateisha Wade and Moni Akintunde, who chipped in 14 and 10 points respectively. The Rams, who held a 44-24 rebounding advantage, were led by 20 points from Krystal Vaughn and Quanitra Hollingsworth’s 35th career double-double, as the redshirt junior scored 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

VCU opened up an early lead, but after Hobbs tied the game at seven with a three-pointer, the Rams would not hold the advantage for the duration of the half, as Mason controlled much of the period. The Patriots led by as many as six at 20-14 with 5:22 remaining, but a 7-1 run by VCU eliminated the gap and sent both teams to the locker room with the game tied at 21.

In the first half, Mason out-shot the Rams by a 39.1-to-31.0 percent margin in field goals, while VCU held a 21-16 advantage off the glass.

Out of the break, VCU again struck first with five points by Vaughn. Mason answered back with buckets by Wade and Smith to bring the score within one. However, the Rams answered back with four points to open up a five-point lead at 30-25. Again, the Patriots fought their way back into the contest, tying the game eventually at 33. A topsy-turvy battle ensued, with neither team taking a lead larger than three, until a 9-0 VCU run put the Rams ahead by 10 at 57-47. Mason ended the run with a Wade free throw but could not overcome the deficit.

Mason will return to action on Thursday when it hosts nationally ranked CAA foe Old Dominion. Tip-off at the Patriot Center is set for 7 p.m.

Wrestling

The Patriot wrestling team hosted no. 22 Old Dominion in a Colonial Athletic Association dual on Sunday at the Field House. Despite losing 32-12 to the Monarchs, Mason did have some individual highlights in the meet, including wins by a pair of freshmen and a pin at the heavyweight class.

After four consecutive losses to begin the meet, freshman Frankie McLaughlin gave Mason its first win of the day at 157 pounds. Wrestling after an extended absence due to an injury to his hand, McLaughlin won his 17th match of the season, beating Dan Rivera by a final score of 7-4.

After Old Dominion won the next three matches, freshman Cayle Byers, ranked 16th in the nation by InterMat and 20th by Amateur Wrestling News, was in danger of losing the 197-pound bout to David Mendoza. Trailing 4-1 heading into the third period, Byers took control of the match, dominating the final two minutes to earn his 29th win of the season. The Chugiak, Alaska, native scored four takedowns in the final period to send the Mason wrestling fans into a frenzy and take a 9-8 come-from-behind victory.

In the final match of the day, senior Harry Zander had no trouble with Old Dominion heavyweight Andy Totusek. Zander pinned Totusek 1:54 into the match to earn his team-leading seventh fall of the season.

The team was scheduled to wrestle last night in Lynchburg, Va., to face Liberty at 6 p.m. and UNC Greensboro at 8 p.m.

Women’s Track and Field

Junior Ryann Hendricks finished fifth in the triple jump at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge Cup hosted by Penn State. Hendricks recorded a mark of 12.04 meters (39 ft., 6 in.) in the event while Penn State’s Lena Bettis won the triple jump with a mark of 12.48 meters (40 ft., 11.5 in.).

Hendricks has already qualified provisionally for the NCAA Championships in the event with a mark of 12.65 meters (41 ft., 6 in.) at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Jan. 12.

In addition to Hendricks’ fifth-place finish, the Patriots had a number of athletes finish in the top-10 at the meet. Sophomore Tiara Swindell finished fifth in the 400-meter dash, topping the ECAC-qualifying standard with a time of 55.73 seconds. She also finished seventh in the 200-meter dash, running the team’s best time of the season, 25.16 seconds. Sophomore Marie Fields also ran the 200-meter dash, finishing ninth with a time of 25.21 seconds.

In the finals of the 60-meter dash, freshman Britney Streeter crossed the finish line in 7.81 seconds to finish sixth. She ran a time of 7.78 seconds in the preliminary heats to reach the finals.

Mason also fared well in the 60-meter hurdles. Sophomore Asia Odum finished sixth with a time of 8.92 seconds in the finals after clocking in at 8.89 seconds in the preliminary heats.

The Patriots’ 4×400-meter relay team of sophomore Latasha Rivers, Fields, junior Crystal Lawrence and Swindell took third place at the meet with a time of 3:45.21. Penn State (3:39.19) and Tulane (3:42.80) finished first and second, respectively.

The women’s track and field team will compete next weekend at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

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