By Fernanda Bartels, Staff Writer

The George Mason University men’s volleyball team beat the Saint Francis Red Flash in five sets on Wednesday, ending a five-match losing streak.

The win came at a good time, as the Patriots are getting closer to the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) quarterfinals.

With the win, Mason improved its record to 3-4 in conference matches. The Patriots are seeded third in the EIVA standings, one win behind the Princeton Tigers.

Mason lead early, having no problem taking the first two sets (30-26, 30-18). The Red Flash came back strong in the third set, outhitting the Patriots in .469. Saint Francis wrapped up the third set with a 10-point difference, 30-20.

The Red Flash kept up the heat in the fourth set, opening with a 5-2 lead. The Patriots picked up their game with help from junior setter Brandon Joyner and junior outside hitter Dave Reilly. But the Patriots could not stop junior Jordan Varee’s attacks, falling short in the fourth set, 30-25.

The Patriots returned for the fifth set determined to win. By serving and attacking aggressively, Mason took the lead 8-6 after two kills by sophomore outside hitter Joe Norton.

The Patriots gained momentum and wrapped up the match 15-10 with a service ace by freshman outside hitter Michael Kvidahl. Mason’s offense was well distributed by freshman setter Javier Perez with 49 assists.

Sophomore opposite hitter Andrew Dentler led the Patriots with 15 kills, followed by junior outside hitter Eric Lucas with 14 kills.

Lucas posted a team-high of 20 digs, along with two service aces. Sophomore middle blocker Lance Rogers and Kvidahl added 13 kills apiece.

Saint Francis was led by Varee with a match-high 24 kills. Varee also tipped in three service aces and 20 digs for the Red Flash. Nick Rivett added 22 kills for the Red Flash.

The Patriots return to the RAC for their final match of the regular schedule.

Mason will face No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions on April 17. The match falls on senior night, and seniors Ben Nichols, Luke Maloney and Ryan Kwiatkowski will be honored before the match.