by Matthew Hochberg
Coming off six consecutive victories after just one loss more than a month ago, George Mason’s High School girls’ volleyball had high hopes entering Saturday’s round-robin tournament at J.E.B. Stuart High School.
After splitting a number of matches in the tournament’s two-set structure, as opposed to the traditional three-set contests played during the season, the Mustangs managed to break away and win one match. This propelled them out of pool play and into the knockout stage as the two-seed from their group.
The Mustangs, though, could not advance any further. Tuscarora High School – the eventual tournament champions – defeated Mason.
“We had a slow start to the day,” head coach Hillary Trebels said. “I don’t know if it was a morning thing or what,” referring to the tournament’s start time of 8:30 a.m., the first type of competition of the year that wasn’t after school hours in the evening.
Trebels also had playing time on her mind, trying to ensure all of her players had an opportunity to contribute while keeping them rested.
Despite struggling at times, there were encouraging moments that the coach saw. Mason played different types of offense, including 5-1 and 4-2 formations. Trebels said she was impressed with how they handled both strategies.
The Mustangs, though, bounced back on Tuesday night. Playing Madison County High School on the road, the team defeated the Mountaineers 3-1. Even with some more early struggles and unforced errors, Trebels’ squad rebounded.
“Once we started playing calm volleyball we were in the clear, letting them make the errors and running our offense. (In practice on Monday) we did some individual work and I think that paid off. We had stronger hits and less hesitation on defense.”
The Mustangs played against Rappahannock County on Wednesday night, a match Trebels said would be a competitive one. The results of the match were not available at press time.