A decisive senior night victory against Clarke County High School last Thursday, 3-0, put the George Mason High School varsity volleyball team in a good place to start the Bull Run District Tournament – back at home.
After the Clarke County victory placed the team third in the district and ended its regular season with a 15-6 record, they were set to host William Monroe High School. In what Coach Erik Healey is calling the team’s “most exciting game of the season,” the girls won 3-2 in the district quarter final game.
William Monroe’s plan was to keep setter Maddie Johnson out of as many plays as they could, but still the junior captain led the offense with 10 kills, 18 assists and five aces.
“She remained tough and used the opportunities she had to her advantage,” Healey said. Sophomore middle hitter Sally Karstens brought in eight kills, and as part of a strong Mason defense, nine blocks
“Senior libero Nicole Philbin had a game-high 21 digs,” Healey said. “Johnson and Philbin kept us in the game. Johnson played an incredibly smart game and had their defense guessing the whole night.”
Junior Jade Taylor faced a tense situation in the fifth and final game of the matchup, with the team down 8-11. She served seven straight points, with two aces, securing a win for the team.
The Mason team, currently 16-6 on the season, plays Madison County High School tomorrow at Strasburg High School at 6 p.m., a game pitting the second- and third-place district teams against one another. The Mustangs will take on Madison County’s outside hitter Molly Shifflett, whom Healey considers a challenge to his team’s defense. The Mason team has lost both times it has played Madison this season. The winner in this matchup will face the winner of a Strasburg/Clarke County game for the district title Saturday.
Currently fifth in the region, the team will move on to the Regional Tournament next week.
“We have the challenge of playing teams we have never seen before,” Healey said. “We have no idea what to expect as a team, but the teams we play do not know what to expect of us. I think we will be able to surprise a lot of teams in the regional tournament.”