The Fort Wayne Men’s Volleyball team played No. 11 in the country George Mason at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Going into the game, Fort Wayne had a record of 1-8 to George Mason’s 4-2.
J.W. Kieckhefer, the Mastodons’ assistant coach, said their first win from the week prior will help with confidence issues and give them a good attitude for this game.
“I think it’s hard not to be more confident once we’ve had a win under our belt,” Kieckhefer said. “At the end of the day, I think we’re doing some really good things, and we just need to continue what we’re doing to get another win.”
Coach Kieckhefer said he did a scouting report on George Mason’s team to see what they were up against.
According to the report, Kieckhefer found George Mason’s go-to player is their right-side hitter #20 Jack Wilson. Going into Friday’s game, Wilson had attacked 50 more balls than anyone else on his team this season. Wilson is also an All-American candidate with a hitting percentage of .296.
Kieckhefer said the key to defending him would be to slow down their left and right side attackers, since they don’t set their middles in close-game situations.
Gabriel Quinones, a senior computer science major for the Mastodons from Dallas, said through their past losses and mistakes, they have prepared mentally and physically for this team.
“We don’t have to play amazing every time,” Gabriel said. “As long as we play consistently then wins will come and I really think that’s what we need to do.”
Gabriel said to succeed against a good team like George Mason they would need to start out early with confidence.
“I think the key is going to be the first set,” Gabriel said. “It’s an emotional kind of mental rollercoaster when a game starts, but once that first set is over and you win, you can go into the second set with confidence, which will ultimately be a big part in helping us win the game.”
That they did, as Fort Wayne won in three straight sets, shocking George Mason in a sweep.
“It was really just a combination of everything. Not one specific part sticks out, we just really played unbelievable volleyball tonight,” Coach Kieckhefer said following the win. “I really think that’s the best volleyball we’ve played in probably two years.”
Coach Kieckhefer said the saying “winning is contagious” definitely applied to the Mastodons this weekend, as they continued their 3-game win streak into Saturday night’s game against NJIT, resulting in another 3-0 sweep.
Fort Wayne now holds a record of 3-8 for the season as they go into conference play at home this weekend against McKendree and Ball State.