No. 19 George Mason clutch serving knocks off No. 3/6 UC Irvine

Photo courtesy of George Mason athletics

The serving game for No. 19 George Mason came through in the biggest moments to deliver one of the biggest upset wins in program history.

Omar Hoyos and Lucas Little each had an ace during a 6-1 run to open the decisive fifth as George Mason defeated No. 3/6 UC Irvine 21-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 15-12 on Tuesday in Irvine, California.

Hoyos and Little were among the three Patriots to have multiple aces in the non-conference win. George Mason finished the match with 10 aces – four more aces than UC Irvine.

Outside attacker Liam French led all players with four aces, including having back-to-back aces to give George Mason the lead midway through its second game win. Hoyos also contributed three aces, while Little had two aces with both aces coming in the final two games.


This upset victory was the first time George Mason has defeated a top-five nationally ranked team since 2008 when it beat then-No. 1 Penn State.

George Mason overcame being out-hit .277 to .221 to pull off its third win in school history against UC Irvine. The Patriots, though, limited the Anteaters to a match-worst zero attack percentage in the final game.

Along with the service performances, Hoyos added 13 kills and French had 11 kills. Opposite Jack Bolz finished with a team-high 14 kills highlighted with the match-winning kill.

Four Anteaters in the team’s season opener ended with double-digit kills.

Preseason All-American outside attacker Hilir Henno led all players with both 17 kills on a .355 attack percentage and 11 digs. The 2023 National Server of the Year also had two aces against the Patriots.

UC Irvine in the loss out-blocked George Mason 14 to 8.5 with middle attacker Beck Weber having a match-high eight blocks.

The Anteaters opened the match with Hawai’i transfer Brett Sheward starting at setter. Sheward began his college career as a setter and last season earned All-Big West honors as the Rainbow Warriors’ starting libero.

Sheward played the first four games and was subbed out for last year’s starting setter Joe Karlous with UC Irvine trailing in the midway through the fourth game.