It was a return to form for George Mason High School’s varsity volleyball team as they toppled 5A opponents Mount Vernon High School and Lee High School in straight sets to get their record back in the positive at 4-3 this past week.
To say it came naturally would be an overstatement though. A 3-1 loss to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology last Thursday caused the Mustangs to do some soul searching at a team meeting the following day. After talking it out (and sweating it out with an intense round of conditioning) Mason started the week refreshed.
“Last week at Jefferson we lost focus and it was really evident in how we played with missing serves among other things,” head coach Hillary Trebels said. “[At the meeting] we talked about what we’re here to do and remind ourselves of why we’re playing.”
Whatever words were shared last Friday have had an immediate effect as the Mustangs shot out of the gate against Mount Vernon. Junior right side hitter Savannah Williams spiked the opening point past the Majors and was followed by a strong strike from junior outside hitter McKenzie Brady, an ace by junior setter Evelyn Duross and another point of Brady’s right hand. Mount Vernon had their moments, but the Mustangs racked up multi-point stretches of four and then eight points to cruise to a 25-8 opening set win.
The Majors, prideful as any other competitor, wouldn’t wilt right away. They took their first and largest lead early in the second set at 9-6. Though Mason didn’t wallow in their first set victory either, and rifled off seven straight points to go up 13-9 in a matter of minutes. Mount Vernon continued to challenge the Mustangs, but impressive showings from Brady on the perimeter and senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Daniels at the net helped clinch a 25-21 second set win for Mason.
By midway through the third set it was clear that the Mustangs were the better team. However, they weren’t consistent in demonstrating that they were. A relaxed mindset, which was helped by a Mount Vernon team that struggled to string together runs of their own, was fairly noticeable. Only ahead 13-12, Mason flipped the switch, scored eight unanswered points and smiled their way to a victory. In the Mustangs defense, they were aware of their drop-off in intensity.
“We need to keep focus,” Brady said. “We lost focus at the end of the second set, but if we just keep that same mentality all the way through we’ll be better off.”
The night before, Mason was able to trounce the visiting Lancers as well. A straight set victory gave the Mustangs the boost they needed heading into Tuesday’s match with Mount Vernon and appears to have the team trending upward nearly four weeks into the season.
Mason will take the rest of the week off and won’t play again until they hit the road next Tuesday, Sept. 19 to face Clarke County High School.