By Clinton W. Carlson JR, Contributor
Mason’s Men’s volleyball team hosted the inaugural Uvaldo Acosta Invitational January 26-28 at the Recreation Athletic Complex (RAC) on the Fairfax Campus. The invitational honors Mason Class of 1996 alum Uvaldo Acosta who played volleyball from 1986-88 and then served as Mason’s head coach in 1997. Acosta was in his second year as head coach when he tragically drowned on Feb. 12, 1998.
Prior to the first match, Acosta was honored with a preview of a tribute film made by Brian Negron, one of the current captains of the men’s team. In addition to the video, a banner with the number 8 on it was revealed indicating that Acosta’s number has been retired and will never be worn by another Mason player again. The full video can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/uvaldoacosta
The invitational began at 7 p.m. on Friday with Mason playing against twelfth-ranked Pepperdine. The Patriots dropped 3-0 (21-25; 24-26; 14-25) taking Pepperdine to 1-0 and Mason 0-1 for the invitational. The Patriots were led by Christian Malias with 12 kills, Brian Negron with 28 assists, and Johnny Gomez with 14 digs. On Saturday, the Patriots took a break while fourteenth-ranked Ball State fell 3-1 against Pepperdine (25-20; 16-25; 23-25; 14-25)
The Patriots returned Sunday evening to close out the invitational. They competed against Ball State and won 3-1 (23-25; 25-20; 25-19; 25-22). Mason again was led by Christian Malias with 18 kills and 10 digs and Brian Negron with 40 assists (a match high). Mason also tied their season high of seven aces in the final set.
The invitational finished with Pepperdine 2-0, Mason 1-1, and Ball State 0-2.