by Matthew Hochberg
Back-and-forth went the match, drawing sounds of excitement and agony from George Mason High School’s student section of more than thirty, most of whom were on their feet for the duration of the girls’ varsity volleyball’s five-set contest.
Finally, in a match that lasted almost two hours, the Mustangs defeated William Monroe 3-2 in the thriller. After trailing early and dropping the first two sets, Mason stormed back to win the next three. And for head coach Hillary Trebels, it was the team’s three seniors, hitter Shaun Roddock, defensive specialist Jesusa Mariel Andrea Dilao and setter Kathryn Karstens who played a big part in making the difference.
“At this point last year if we were down, we would just give up,” Trebels said. “Having those older, more mature kids who have been through it is really important.”
Mason fell 18-25 in the first set and 24-26 in the second. It appeared as though William Monroe was about to exit Mary Ellen Henderson’s gym with a sweep, bringing over their momentum to set three.
The Mustangs, though, looking to improve to 2-1 on the young season, refused to give up so quickly.
The home team jumped out to an 8-2 lead with roaring cheers from the student section along with the parents. Mason did not trail once that entire set, beating out their opponent 25-16.
Just like that, the energy had turned. Mason won the fourth set comfortably before heading into the final game of the evening. After a close start, they pulled away 11-4 before ultimately securing the victory 16-14.
Despite the victory, Trebels does want the team to fix some minor issues moving forward. “We’ve had our successes but we just have to be more consistent when it comes to serving,” she said, referring to some of the unforced errors which occurred more so in the first two sets. “We practice it so much, it’s definitely a focus.”
Yet, even with an imperfect match, the comeback victory made it that much more thrilling.
“I’m really impressed with their perseverance,” Trebels said. “One of our seniors came off and said, ‘that’s fortitude.’”