A four-set loss closes out the Patriots’ 17-12 season
By Domenic Allegra, Staff Writer
The Patriots’ men’s volleyball team entered the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Tournament on Thursday, April 19, as the number one seed, looking to win and earn a NCAA bid on Saturday in the championship game. Unfortunately, the Patriots struggled to overcome the Princeton Tigers and lost 3-1 in four sets.
The loss was the third time this season that the Patriots played Princeton, and Mason won both of the previous two matches. The Patriots were 13-1 in the EIVA conference coming into the tournament, but suffered only their second conference loss on Thursday.
The Patriots struggled as a team, with 32 attacking errors compared to the Tigers’ 16 attacking errors. Both teams had exactly 51 kills and 48 assists throughout the four sets. Princeton had more blocks than the Patriots, recording 28 compared to Mason’s 21.
“We brought everything we had and… they had our number,” Coach Jay Hosack said in the post-game press conference. “The beauty is that even though we put in all that hard work, it still didn’t come easy to get to this point, and we didn’t win tonight…. If I recruited the right guys, this is going to sting a little bit, and it should, it should mean something.”
Mason will also have to prepare for three of their biggest playmakers, Johnny Gomez, Christian Malias and Brian Negron, graduating before the next season. Coach Hosack stated that even though the seniors were disappointed, they had left the program in great hands with the younger players on the team.
“They lead by example, they didn’t beat their chests, they showed the young guys what it takes to be successful here,” Hosack said when asked how the seniors have made an impact on the underclassmen in the program.
“There are a lot of teams in the country that wish they had an opportunity like us tonight,” , Hosack said when asked how he would overcome this loss. “I’m bummed, don’t get me wrong, I’m a coach, I want to win everytime, but you can’t win every game, you can’t win every match, and you can’t win every set, you’re not going to win any sets 25-0.”
Hosack later added when talking about how he would push the program into a positive direction, “I had a one, a three, and a five year goal, when I took the job here.” According to Hosack, all that is left to do is his last goal. “In my fifth year, I said that we were going to win a national title. That’s 2020.”
Senior Christian Malias lead the team with 13 kills throughout the match, but struggled with a hitting percentage of .129. Though he had a decent offensive performance, he still held himself accountable for the crucial plays he failed to execute successfully.
“I hope I’ll be remembered as someone who went all out and didn’t take no for an answer, and fought to the last swing,” said Malias, when asked how he would want the underclassmen to remember him. “I went through some struggles, but I kept focusing and I had fun but also did what I needed to do…. and I always put the team first, that’s how I’ll want to be remembered.”
Malias recalled the last play of the match saying, “We always talked about the three seniors leaving here with no regrets, and I mean I missed that last overpass, and I hit it in the net….but I swung”
The Patriots’ loss to Princeton ended their season, But they leave with hopes to make it back to the tournament again next season.
A full transcript of the Post-Game Press Conference is available here.
Photo by Allie Thompson