Story Courtesy of George Mason
FAIRFAX, Va. – The George Mason men's volleyball team played its lone match of the weekend against No. 5 Ohio State at the RAC. Despite a great individual effort from Hayden Wagner, the Patriots fell 3-0.
"We just need to be more disciplined as well as do a better job slowing down their serves," head coach Jay Hosack said. "If we want to be somewhere in the hunt later on in the year we have a long way to go. That's not even the number one team in the country, they're coming next week. If that match doesn't wake you up a little bit, make you want to work hard and get in the gym then maybe you shouldn't here. But I know my guys work hard and I know they want to win. We just need to get better."
Wagner led the Patriots with nine kills and factored into a career high six blocks. His one solo block tied a career high, a number he reached for the fourth time as a Patriot and the second time in 2018.
Senior Brian Negron notched 16 assists, with his 12th being his 3,000 of his career. The milestone assist came on a Wagner kill in the second set that tied the score at 24-24. Negron is the fourth player in program history to reach the milestone, joining the likes of Kriss Eglitis (3,857 career assists), Jonathan Hanners (3,558) and Dave Egan (3,424).
It was Negron who got the Patriots' first kill of the evening, setting the table for Wagner and Jack Reese to lead the team with two in the first set. Ohio State had early leads of 4-1 and 8-4 early, forcing Mason to have to play from behind for the entire set. The Patriots cut the deficit to 14-13, but moments later the Buckeyes went on a 6-0 run that gave them a 21-14 lead. From there, Ohio State didn't look back and won the set 25-16.
Set number two belonged to Hayden Wagner, who compiled four kills, an ace and five total blocks. Down 6-3 early, Mason answered with a 3-0 run to tie the score at 6-6. With the score tied 7-7 shortly after, Wagner snagged his first ace of the night that was followed by a Kyle Barnes kill to give Mason a 9-7 lead. The two teams went toe-to-toe the rest of the set with four ties along the way to the 20-20 mark. The Patriots tied the score once again at 23-23 when Wagner and Langston Payne teamed up for a block, but Ohio State grabbed three of the next four points and won the set 26-24.
Ohio State got off to a fast start in the third frame, jumping out to a 11-5 lead. Despite a kill from Brad Creamer in the next stretch, it didn't get any better as the Buckeyes extended their lead to 17-8, forcing a Mason timeout. The Patriots showed fight with a 3-0 run and a Wagner service ace late in the frame, but ultimately the Buckeyes prevailed and took the set 25-18 and the match in the process.
Mason returns to action against Barton College on Friday, Feb. 9 and No. 1 Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 10. Both matches will take place at the RAC and are set for 7 p.m.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
• In addition to his performance at the net, Hayden Wagner also tallied a career high five digs against the Buckeyes.
• Wagner's five blocks in the second set is the most he's ever tallied in an individual frame, with his next closest being two vs. No. 14 Ball State in his previous match.
• Johnny Gomez had a match high eight digs, the fifth time he's had at least a share of the match high.