No. 11 George Mason Beats Loyola-Chicago in Five

3/28/2008

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Fairfax, Va. - Junior opposite hitter Kyle Gramit's double-double helped lead the 11th-ranked George Mason men's volleyball team to its sixth consecutive victory with a 3-2 (21-30, 30-27, 30-24, 27-30, 15-10) win over Loyola (Ill.) on Friday evening at the Fieldhouse. Gramit posted 21 kills on 41 swings along with a career-high 18 digs as the Patriots improved to 15-6 overall and 10-1 in home matches this season.

In the first game, Mason started off slowly, falling behind by 12 points at 21-9. The Patriots cut the deficit to six points at 27-21 but that was as close as they would get as Loyola (Ill.) scored the final three points to take a 30-21 opening game win. The Ramblers hit a blistering .455 in the game.

The second game was a close contest throughout, featuring 22 ties and six lead changes. With the score tied at 24, George Mason seized control by taking the ensuing two points on a Gramit kill followed by a bad set by Loyola's Matt Baleiko. The two sides then traded the next six points until senior middle blocker R.J. Goubeaux and sophomore setter Ryan Kwiatkowski combined to block Kris Berzins' attack for the final point to even the match at a game apiece.

The third game was another close one. Trailing 24-22, the Patriots took the game over, scoring the final eight points on their way to taking a 2-1 lead in the match. Junior outside hitter Hudson Bates recorded three kills during the run, while senior outside hitter Mark Burik closed out the game with two consecutive service aces.

Leading 25-24, Mason was unable to take advantage of an opportunity to close out the match in the next game. The Ramblers took the next three points to take a 27-25 lead and force head coach Fred Chao to take a timeout to regroup. The Patriots won the next point following the timeout but were unable to complete the comeback as Loyola (Ill.) won 30-27 to force a fifth game.

In the fifth game, with the score tied at four, Mason used a 4-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. The Ramblers never got closer than three the rest of the way as the Patriots took a 15-10 victory to give Mason its second victory over Loyola (Ill.) this season. The Patriots also beat the Ramblers on Jan. 26 in Chicago, Ill.

Gramit wasn't the only Patriot to shine in the win. Bates finished with 20 kills, six digs and eight blocks. Burik also had a great all-around performance with 11 kills, three aces and nine digs. Goubeaux had nine kills and eight blocks. Kwiatkowski set a career high with 61 assists in the match.

Four players finished with double-digit kills for the Ramblers, led by Nick Lamoureux's 23 on .645 hitting. Loyola (Ill.) finished with a slightly better hitting percentage than Mason in the match (.298 to .287), but the Patriots dominated in team blocks, recording 15.5 to the Ramblers 4.5.

George Mason will attempt to extend its winning streak to seven tomorrow with a 7 p.m. match against IPFW at the Fieldhouse.

Article courtesy of George Mason athletics.

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