The George Mason High School varsity volleyball team claimed second place in last weekend's Raider Rumble, hosted by J.E.B. Stuart High School. The Mustangs finished first in a pool that consisted of Hayfield, Park View and Stuart, largely in part to a thrilling final match against the host Raiders.
In the contest against Stuart, Mason starting middle hitter/blocker Gwen Edwards was forced out in the middle of the match due to injury, leaving the Mustangs with an unfamiliar lineup and no substitutes. Despite the unforeseen hurdle, the Mason girls cleared it to claim their match and the pool.
“They stuck together and played strongly as a team — not letting a single ball fall between them and covered flawlessly for each other on defense,” Head Coach Rwaida Alshagra said.
With the top spot in their pool secured, the Mustangs finally hit the wall against Broad Run in the finals, dropping the first two games to 25 in a best of three match. Broad Run finished the tournament without a defeat. Despite the loss in the finals, Alshagra points out that the achievement is a monumental one for the young Mustang squad.
“This was a great accomplishment for the girls since most of the teams that participated were AA-AAA schools from Northern Virginia and Loudoun County,” Alshagra said. “The girls were very happy and proud of themselves and took home silver medals for the first time in a very long time in Mason volleyball tournament history.”
While Alshagra congratulated the efforts of Anna Lathrop, Bailey Walton, Kate Root, Ashley Dahl, Elisa Aronica and Alexis Dahl, she specifically applauded the efforts of recent JV call-up Katie Breen who started in her first varsity match for Mason.
The Mason hot streak couldn't continue on Monday night at home against Freedom, though the Mustangs showed marked improvement. In their last meeting, Freedom swept aside Mason in three games, this time the Mustangs strung out the match to a full five games (25-9, 12-25, 13-25, 22-25, 13-15).
“We fell short on serves, missing almost 30 percent, but made up for it in hitting and defense,” Alshagra said, noting a 20-percent service ace ratio for Root and Dahl.
The Mustangs next face Briar Woods on the road next Monday, Sept. 24, before returning home to open their district schedule against Manassas Park the following evening.