Story Courtesy of George Mason
FAIRFAX, Va. – Five days after the calendar flipped to 2018 marked opening night for the George Mason men's volleyball team. The Patriots welcomed Limestone College to town, kicking off a three-match weekend slate with a 3-0 victory over the Saints.
Senior Brian Negron and redshirt-junior Langston Payne each tallied seven kills to lead the Patriots. Friday marked Negron's first match playing right side attacker resulting in his seven kills marking a career high. Payne's seven kills was the most he's recorded in a match since 2/25/17 vs. Saint Francis (Pa.). The Piscataway, N.J. native was also a perfect 7-for-7 on the attack.
Redshirt-freshman Jack Reese suited up in his first match for the Patriots and brought a dominant presence to the net. His debut read five kills, six blocks (one solo) and a service ace, good for 9.5 points.
The first set began with two Limestone College points before Justin Coleman got the Patriots on the board with a kill. The set featured back-and-forth action seeing five lead changes and four ties making the score 10-10. From there back-to-back kills from Payne propelled an 8-2 run forcing a Saints timeout. Up 15-11 after the pause in the action, Mason cruised the rest of the way taking 10 of the next 14 points giving the team a 25-16 victory. Payne was the team's leader on the stat sheet compiling three kills and a block assist.
The Patriots and Saints traded points in the early portions of the second set as well. The Patriots enjoyed two 3-0 runs behind kills from Kyle Barnes, Christian Malias and Payne. The second set belonged to Negron as the co-captain registered five kills on just eight attempts in the frame. With a 12-9 lead, the Patriots ran into trouble midway through the set as Limestone went on a 6-1 run to give themselves a 14-13 lead. The Green and Gold re-gathered themselves with a 4-1 run of their own, anchored by one of Negron's five second set kills and a service ace from Travis O'Gorman. Limestone kept it close and tied the set 20-20, but the Patriots proved to be too much to handle and closed out the set on a 5-2 run for a 25-22 victory.
In the third set the Patriots took control early and never took their foot off the gas pedal. Hayden Wagner took charge off the bench by notching six kills in the third set alone, his most in a set since his seven-kill performance in the third set of Mason's 3-2 win against Barton last year. The Patriots never trailed in the set and won 25-15 giving them their first victory of 2018.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
• Mason compiled a .361 hit percentage, marking the second straight year they've had a higher hit percentage than their opening night opponent.
• Travis O'Gorman is the first Patriot to record a service ace in his debut since Sam Greenslade on 1/6/17.
• Johnny Gomez's 14 digs Friday is tied for the highest total in a three-set match of his career.