Brian T. Chan, Staff Writer

Prior to Thursday’s match at Springfield College, the George Mason University men’s volleyball team took on the Springfield Pride at the RAC and were unable to come up with a win in their three-game homestand. The Patriots (4-6, 2-2) started the match with a 2-0 lead and held on in five sets against the Pride (8-5, 2-3), winning with a score of 30-28, 31-29, 22-30, 27-30, 15-13.

Mason had an extremely strong first set, recording 21 kills and a .436 hitting percentage. The Patriots rallied from being down 18-13 and 24-20 to force a deadlock tie at 24-all. Springfield regained the lead at 28-26, but Mason closed out the set with four consecutive points.

The team continued its early success with another exceptional performance in the second set. As a team, the Patriots hit .500 with 18 kills and just two attack errors. However, the Pride roared back from the two-set deficit with 19 kills in the third set and 16 kills in the fourth for .516 and .325 hitting percentages, respectively.

While the opposition struggled to score points off kills in the fifth set, Mason gave up seven unforced errors that kept the Pride in the game. Mason broke away from an 11-all tie to take a 13-11 lead. After the Pride closed the gap to 14-13, sophomore outside hitter Andrew Dentler, the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association’s kills per game leader, recorded a team-high 19 kills to close off the match and end Mason’s four-game losing streak.

Sophomore middle blocker Shaun Sibley also tallied 19 kills and added four blocks. Three other Patriots recorded double-digit kills. Sophomore middle blocker Lance Rogers posted 14 kills. Redshirt junior outside hitter Dave Reilly and senior libero Luke Maloney scored 12 kills apiece.

Freshman setter Javier Perez, who had 60 assists and 15 digs in the 3-1 loss to Springfield on Feb. 21, earned back-to-back double-double performances with 67 assists and 11 digs on Thursday night. Perez, who entered the match ranked third in the EIVA with 12.67 assists per game, continues to play a key role in his young career.

AJ Nally led the Pride with 22 kills and added 11 digs. Alistair Matthews and Mike Pelletier notched 19 and 18 kills, respectively. Mason will host the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders on Friday at 7 p.m. before they head north to University Park, Pa. in a duel against the Penn State Nittany Lions.