On Tuesday, the Mason Mustang varsity volleyball team was on their toes the entire night against a tough Clarke County Eagle squad, squeaking out a crucial fifth-set victory to win the match 25-16, 24-26, 25-17, 21-25, 16-14.
Against the fellow Bull-Run District rival Eagles, the game mimicked that of a see-saw, as the crowd was treated to numerous lead changes on the Mason senior night. The four seniors, Brittany Head, Katie Mitchell, Lisa Razzi, and Sabrina Whitney led the Mustangs throughout the match.
In the first game, with the score tied up at nine apiece, Mason went on a roll, scoring four in a row, eventually pulling ahead 17-12. While Clarke battled back within three, Mitchell closed the game out for the Mustangs with a kill, winning the first set for her team, 25-16.
Mistakes down the stretch doomed the Mustangs in the second game, as Clarke pulled off clutch blocks on the front lines as the game wore on. Down 24-20, Mason would not go down without a fight, as they tied the score up at 24 apiece. However, the Eagles promptly scored two in a row to knot the best out of five score at one all.
After winning the third game 25-17 behind the front line power of Whitney, the Mustangs dropped the fourth 21-25 to the Eagles. Unlike the rest of the games which play to 25, the fifth and tiebreaker game is played to a mere 15 points.
Despite getting down early 0-4 and again 10-13, the Mustangs’ strong will and powerful heart came out once again, as they fought tooth and nail to squeak out the victory 16-14.
“Tonight was a really good opportunity to allow the seniors to play for possibly the last time in here,” Mason Coach Lauren Luck said after the game. “It also allowed it to be a combined team effort, for both the parents and the kids.”
While Luck was particularly impressed with the efforts of her four graduating seniors, it was the returning players who she was arguably most awestruck by: “[Junior] Anna Lathrop played a great game in the setter position. In a new role, she stepped up well, setting all the way around.” Lathrop pitched in 15 serves on the game.
Also performing exceptionally well for Mason was senior Sabrina Whitney. Whitney had 15 serves, including 3 aces (100% on serves) as well as an astounding 16 kills and one block. Junior Bailey Walton and sophomore Kim Kenney chipped in two blocks each, as well as four and three kills, respectively.
On the previous Thursday, the Mustangs visited Madison County to take on the Mountaineers in a Bull-Run District showdown, coming out victorious 25-18, 25-23, 16-25, 23-25, 15-10.
“The team played extremely well, especially in a loud gym.,” Luck said following the win. “It was definitely the best game they’ve played all year. They communicated well and made smart decisions.”
Walton had an incredible game at the net, getting 2 kills on 11 hits and four blocks. Whitney and Mitchell contributed to the win, each of whom had season highs, getting 14 and 18 kills respectively.
Fellow senior Brittany Head was all over the place on the back lines, passing up 31 balls. Her counterpart, sophomore Tegan Argo also had an excellent game, getting 16 serves in. Junior Olivia Scott had the best game of her season thus far as well, getting 10 hits and 4 kills, while passing effectively and quickly from the back row.
The two wins bring Mason’s record to14-3. The next game for the Mustangs will be on Thursday, October 26 versus the Strasburg Rams. The Rams are the only team undefeated in Bull-Run district play, and as Mason travels to Strasburg to hopefully upset the district leaders, home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and possible a first round bye is at stake. Results of the match were not available at press time.