FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 2, 2012 – Senior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) tied her season-high with 20 kills, but George Mason held off a rally by the James Madison volleyball team for a 3-2 win at the Recreation and Athletics Complex in Fairfax, Va., on Friday evening.
Mason won by set scores of 25-23, 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 15-11 to improve to 3-7 in Colonial Athletic Association play and 5-18 overall. JMU dropped its third straight to fall to 11-14 and 4-6 in CAA play.
Erb hit .357 for the match, collecting 20 kills against just five errors in 42 attempts. She added 15 digs to pick up her team-leading 13th double-double of the season. Sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) added a career-high 16 kills on .375 hitting to go with three blocks, three digs and a service ace. Freshman outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) tied her career-best with 18 digs and had 13 kills while freshman middle blocker MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) supplied 10 kills, 12 digs, three blocks, three service aces and three assists.
Senior outside hitter Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) was second to only Niski with 17 digs and freshman libero Patreece Spence (Wilmington, Del./Archmere Academy) had 10 digs in her second career start. Senior Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) and freshman Sarah Patterson (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley) combined for 52 assists, 14 digs, two kills, two aces and two blocks from the setter position.
Outside hitter Lana Zonjic led the Patriot attack with 24 kills on .268 hitting, to go with 19 digs and a service ace. Middle blocker Danielle Cook hit .455 for the match with 18 kills against three errors in 33 attempts. Middle blocker Meredith Bush added 14 kills on .353 hitting while libero Bernetta Moore added 25 digs, four assists and two service aces. Setter Tori Price paced the team to a .276 attack percentage with 54 assists to go with 10 digs, two blocks, a kill and an ace.
The Patriots outhit the Dukes .276 to .260 for the match and held a 92-89 advantage in digs. Madison picked up six blocks to three for Madison and led in aces, 9-4.
JMU trailed late in set one, 23-19, but rattled off three straight points to cut the deficit to one and force a Mason timeout. Out of the break, the Patriots got a pair of kills from Zonjic to claim the first set. The Dukes rallied again in set two, this time winning four straight points while facing set point. Back-to-back kills by Meredith Bush and Danielle Cook helped put the set away in favor of GMU.
After trailing early in set three, Madison came back to take the lead, 9-7, after a three-point run. JMU never looked back the remainder of the set, eventually closing it out, 25-19. The Dukes won four of the final five points in set four to win the set, 25-22, and force the match to a fifth set.
In the tiebreaking set, JMU jumped out to a 3-0 lead and eventually stretched it out to as far as four at 8-4. The Patriots battled back to win six of the next seven points, gaining a 10-9 advantage. After a timeout by the Dukes, Madison won the first point, but the Patriots responded by winning three straight and five of the last six. Middle blocker Lolade Owokoniran closed out the match with her 10th kill.
JMU closes out its 2012 regular season next weekend as it returns home to Sinclair Gymnasium for a pair of matches. The Dukes face Northeastern on Friday at 7 p.m. and host Hofstra on Saturday for Senior Day. That match is also scheduled for 7 p.m.
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