A five-match win streak came to an end for George Mason High School’s volleyball team as they fell to Madison County High School, 3-1, on Tuesday and Washington-Lee High School, 3-0, on Monday.
A hot start against Madison County was doused in adversity fairly quickly and knocked the Mustangs off their game for the remainder of the match. Junior setter Evelyn Duross nailed six aces in the opening set while junior outside hitter McKenzie Brady and senior middle hitter Laura Whitaker also tacked on support to get Mason out to an early 10-1 lead. Despite the buffer, the visiting Mountaineers didn’t falter and slowly chipped away at the Mustangs’ cushion with two five-point runs to close the gap to 15-14 midway through the first set.
Mason stayed ahead at 21-19 thanks to a big save by the back line, but Madison County scored six points to the Mustangs two in the next eight rallies to inflict a painful first-set loss for the home team.
“I knew they were going to be better than last year, I just didn’t know how they’d be better,” Mason head coach Hillary Trebels said. “When they can pass well, their [player] number 5 is an option every time because they can run her and she’s obviously their best hitter.”
Madison County was able to control the second set more definitely. A 12-11 Mason advantage midway through was their last of the set as the Mountaineers were able to mix in spikes and touch hits to keep the Mustangs guessing. Mason had a nice surge at the end, but Madison County had too solid of a lead and finished it 25-20.
The third set was a gut-check for the Mustangs. Trebels has noted that her team’s response to strong runs from opponents is not ideal, so if there was a chance to take something positive away from the match it would be a hard fought win. After getting down 7-4 early and 18-15 at the midway point, it appeared Mason had conceded defeat.
However, they did an about-face and began stringing together two- and three-point stretches that stifled Madison County and culminated in a 28-26 victory after a Brady hit and an ace. It was a short-lived boost as Mason fell 25-16 in the final set, but was still a positive sign of fortitude.
Mason was swept on Monday’s away match at nearby Washington-Lee. The contest was similar to how their tournament face-off went roughly two weeks ago, when the Mustangs were able to play well and build a lead at one point, but struggled to hold onto it as the sets wore on. Even with that defeat, Mason capably handled Strasburg High School at home last Thursday which was the final victory in their five-match win streak.
Now it’s back on the road to Rappahannock County High School today before coming home to square up against Clarke County High School next Tuesday, Oct. 10.