Heading into the postseason George Mason High School’s volleyball team takes a big 3-0 win over Rappahannock County High School that was a preceded by a 3-2 loss to Bull Run District leader Madison County High School on Oct. 19.
Tuesday’s win over Rappahannock County was momentous for a few reasons. By beating the Panthers, Mason locked up the second seed in the Bull Run District and earns one final home game during the District tournament next week. It’s also the first time the Mustangs beat Rappahannock County at home during head coach Hillary Trebels’ four-year run, as well as the first time they’ve swept the season-series against them in recent history.
“We’ve never beat [Rappahannock County] in three sets before, so it was really nice,” senior libero Hannah Trauberman said. “This year was the first year we’ve won against them in five sets at their school, and we won at home too which is awesome.”
It was a three-set sweep for Mason, but definitely no easy task. Two sets were pushed into extra rallies and there were 14 lead changes in total throughout the match.
The Mustangs actually had their easiest victory in the first set, where a 7-3 lead ballooned to a 18-12 advantage until the Panthers turned up the heat and came within one at 19-18. Thankfully big hits from junior outside hitters McKenzie Brady and Riley Ruyak along with help from seniors in the form of setter Jaden White’s ace and middle hitter Kait Daniels’ spike came to help Mason earn a 25-20 victory.
In the second set Rappahannock County aimed to even the scoresheet with Mason. The Panthers went up 11-6 in a hurry, but the Mustangs didn’t flinch and evened the tally at 12 apiece after a Ruyak hit. Rappahannock County continued to pace Mason, answering each of their runs with one of their own, and were primed for a win when an ace put them ahead 22-20. Though after a Panther error and a Mustang ace, junior setter Evelyn Duross assisted three of the next four points to snatch away another set from Rappahannock County in a 26-24 win.
Typically a scrappy loss such as in the second set would sign the silent contract and make the third set a mere formality. However, the Panthers came out strong and held a brief 9-8 lead after Mason was up early. The Mustangs eventually bolted to a 19-13 margin, but eased up and allowed Rappahannock County to storm back and take a 25-24 lead and a point away from extending the match. That was until Brady, with a boost from some solid passing, brought the hammer for Mason’s final three points and capped off the team’s senior night.
“For the most part tonight our passing was really good, so we could run a bunch of different hitters,” Trebels said. “The more balanced we can be and the more threats we can use, the less balanced the other team is and they can’t react as fast.”
Last week against Madison County, Mason put up a good fight but ultimately fell to the hosting Mountaineers in five sets. It was an improvement over their 3-1 home loss earlier in the month, but the Mustangs still have trouble keeping up with the district leader. Both are on a path to be competing a third time on Nov. 2
Mason will square off against the winner of Saturday’s Bull Run District tournament opener at home on Oct. 30 before advancing to the 2A Region tournament.