Last Thursday, the George Mason High School Volleyball team closed out an impressive season with a loss at Rappahannock County High School in the semifinals of the Bull Run District tournament, 25-27, 15-25, and 25-27, finishing the year with a record of 15-5.
Seniors Brittany Head and Sabrina Whitney were honored following the completion of the season as members of the All-District team. Whitney also received the honor of being named District Player of the Year. Whitney had 122 kills on the year, chipping in 21 aces. Head’s consistent serving throughout the year led the Mustangs from the back lines, posting 34 aces to go along with 19 kills.
Although she was left off of the All-District team, senior Katie Mitchell closed the book on a sterling senior year of her own. Mitchell led the team with 163 kills, as well as in service aces, with 52.
In the district semifinal game against Rappahannock, the Mustangs came out displaying the strengths that had buoyed them to one of their best finishes in recent years. Solid teamwork and smart choices put Mason ahead early against the Panthers, but a run of crucial mistakes and just plain old bad luck swayed the first game towards the home team’s side.
Service problems, something that had seldom trouble the Mustangs all year, doomed Mason in the second game, as Rappahannock jumped out to an early lead. The Panthers showed their prowess in keeping Mason off balance and the Mustangs never threatened in the second game, falling 15-25.
In the third game, Mitchell went down with an injury, but her teammates took it in stride and soldiered on without her. Ultimately the effort was for naught, falling valiantly 25-27.
After a disappointing result to last year’s season, Mason has improved in many ways this year, most notably in the win column. Consistency and precision on serving carried the Mustangs throughout the year, while improved positioning and movement in the back row also contributed to the turnaround.
“From the front row, our hitting improved as the girls gained confidence in themselves,” Coach Lauren Luck said following the season. “There are several games that stood out to me this year, including our away game against Briar Woods, where the girls had their first real test of the season and responded, stepping up and playing to their potential. They never gave up in games, win or lose.”
With four seniors graduating (Mitchell, Head, Whitney, and Lisa Razzi), Coach Luck believes that the very heart and soul of their team is departing, although solid members remain in order to carry the team in future years.
“We are saying good bye to the core and passion of our team,” Luck said. “Sabrina and Katie are irreplaceable from the front row, as is Brittany from the back row, both with her hard serve and consistent passing. However, I have no doubts that the returning players will step up in big ways next year. ”