The George Mason High School Mustangs Varsity Girls Volleyball team played the Rappahannock County High School Panthers in their most recent match on Sept. 25.
This was their first home district match of the season. The Mustangs lost to the Panthers by scores of 25-19, 25-8 and 25-16.
It has been a learning experience for the George Mason team. They dropped to 0-5 in non-district play, and have not started off with a bang in the district play, having played two district level games last week and losing both. That did not mean Thursday’s match disappointed the crowd.
In the third and final game of the day, the team started off slowly, with the Panthers at a tremendous point advantage, Panthers 23 – Mustangs 7. Following a change of service, the Mustangs charged ahead, capturing their next seven points. According to the Mustangs’ Head Coach Elizabeth Schreiner-Rizzi, the mood on the Mustangs’ gym court was enthusiastic. “The other team had game point and we were way down,” said Schreiner-Rizzi. “Vanessa Mann went back to serve and the team suddenly came back. The Mason fans were cheering and the gym really came alive.”
Even so, the energy didn’t last long before the rally fell short. The Mustangs failed to stop the Panthers from scoring the game and match point.
The Mustang team spirit, however, remained high. “Although it was disappointing to lose on our home court, the fact is that we played our hardest and as a team, kept our spirit up. Not one of us walked off the court ashamed of how we represented our school,” said junior Rebecca Ward. She pointed to the plays of sophomore Katie Breen and freshman Bria Platenburg, noting their important hits and vital kills throughout the match. Schreiner-Rizzi and her Assistant Coach Joy Nystrom have been working with a young squad that boasts only one senior.
The team roster this year carries only three returning varsity players. Despite the team’s overall inexperience, the season outlook for the Mustangs is optimistic. The Mustangs are led by juniors Christina Perez, who was sick for the Rapahannock contest; Gwen Edwards, the team’s captain who had just returned from a neck injury and Taylor Bottock. The sophomores include current team Captain Rachell Hassan and Mann, who is the team’s libero – the player who is able to play the back line at any point during the game.
The Mustangs are away in their next match in Strasburg where they will play Strasburg High School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30.