Fernanda Bartels, Staff Writer

The men’s volleyball team comes back to its home court this weekend.

After playing against the Juniata Eagles and St. Francis Red Flash on the road, the Patriots have a busy weekend ahead against the Loyola Chicago Ramblers and Lewis Flyers. Mason last played the Ramblers and Flyers last March; the Patriots were downed by both teams in three sets.

Opposite hitter Kyle Gramit led the Patriots on both matches, having 15 kills against the Ramblers and 10 kills against the Flyers.
Mason played Loyola earlier on that season, and lost in five sets.

Despite the loss, the Patriots recorded a total of 24 blocks, falling one block short of only one block to match the school’s rally-scoring era record.

Junior outside hitter Eric Lucas adapted well to the hitter position and has led the Patriot offense with 58 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Andrew Dentler is second in kills with 49. Starting freshman middle blocker Piotr Dabrowski and freshman setter Javier Perez have been making the difference on the court; Dabrowski is first on total blocks with 20, and Perez has a team high of 180 sets. The Patriots rank second in kills, assists, blocks and service aces in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Sophomore outside hitter Joe Norton is fourth in hitting percentage in the EIVA. Dentler leads the EIVA rank in kills per game, averaging 4.55 per game.

The Flyers hold an overall record of 7-1. Ranked 15th in the nation, Lewis lost its only match to the ninth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in four sets earlier in the season. Lewis won a pair of matches on the road against the Quincy Hawks and IPFW Mastodons; they will play the 13th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes before facing the Patriots on Friday.

The game against Quincy was the Flyers’ conference opener. The Flyers are led by senior outside hitter Nathan Klaas with 119 kills, followed by freshman opposite hitter Ian Karbiener with 102 kills.

The 12th-ranked Ramblers enter the weekend with an impressive 6-0 overall record, after beating Penn State in five games. Before playing Mason on Saturday, Loyola makes a trip to Huntingdon, Pa. to play Juniata. Sophomore outside hitter Mike Bunting leads Loyola with 80 kills, along with the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Offensive Player of the Week Kris Berzins, who recorded 65 kills and 10 service aces. Berzins also received Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II Men’s Volleyball National Player of the Week honors. Bunting received the same awards earlier this season.