Mason Marches Thru Bull Run, Rematch with Madison Co. Tonight

SOPHOMORE MIDDLE HITTER Roza Gal has become a force for Mason at the net, regularly registering blocks and kills in close quarters and frustrating opponents. (Photo: Carol Sly)

In the meat of their Bull Run District schedule, George Mason High School’s volleyball team has proven a worthy aspirant for the conference crown as it downed Strasburg High School and Central High School in straight sets along with a 3-1 victory over Clarke County High School in the past week.

Outside of a 3-1 loss to reigning conference champion Madison County High School two weeks ago, Mason (10-5) has batted down opponents with the same ease as those same opponents’ kill attempts at the net. Whether it’s setters such as sophomore Olivia Pilson or senior Evelyn Duross, senior outside hitters McKenzie Brady and Riley Ruyak or sophomore middle hitters Roza Gal or Vanessa George, it’s apparent the Mustangs are rolling. There’s no better time to be your best than right before the playoffs.

“We played really hard teams in the scrimmages, so after we finished up the preseason we learned to compete at a high level,” Gal said. “Once the actual districts games started we had it together.”

Tuesday’s match against Strasburg was good example of Mason’s synergy. While the Mustangs dawdled to start the opening set it didn’t take long for them to ignite.

The visiting Rams actually had Mason in a 14-8 hole midway through the set, though most of their points came off unforced errors by the Mustangs rather than outplaying the Falls Church natives. But once Brady got a chance to serve after Strasburg committed a double hit, it was trouble in River City for the Rams.

Two aces from Brady were backed by a two kills from sophomore right side hitter Megan Boesen, a kill from Gal and shared block between Boesen and Gal to put Mason ahead 18-15. Strasburg made a short run to go up 22-21 shortly after, but the Mustangs responded with a four point run of their own capped by sophomore libero Caroline Poley’s ace to win the set 25-22.
There was little messing around early on in the second set. Mason jumped out to a 10-2 lead, which later ballooned to 19-5. The sizeable lead, however, did cause the Mustangs to make time for some errors, but once the Rams closed to within 20-13, Mason scored five of the next eight points to take a 2-0 lead.

A competitive final set in the beginning became business as usual midway through. Strasburg went on a quick six-point run to knot the set at 10 apiece, but six of the next eight points thereafter went in Mason’s favor to go 16-12. A seven-point run followed to put Mason up 23-14. A Ruyak kill and a Strasburg service error clinched the match for the Mustangs

Per head coach Derek Baxter, Mason took care of business on the road last week. Though a 1-0 advantage over Clarke County was evened up after mental issues, the Mustangs took the next two sets in stress-free fashion. Against Central, Mason downed the Falcons with ease in three sets. Though Baxter cautioned not to overlook any team, especially Clarke County, who went the distance with top-ranked Madison County before a fifth set loss.

Mason will host Madison County tonight before welcoming Clarke County on Oct. 22.