By Caitlin Butler
George Mason High School’s volleyball team claimed a close three set victory over William Monroe High School last night en route to winning a Northwestern District title in its first season at the 3A level.
A winning ace from the hands of junior outside hitter Megan Boesen capped off a night where Mason finished a clean match against the visiting Dragons.
William Monroe matched the pace of the Mustangs to trail tightly throughout the first set. The Dragons came up short with the Mustangs finding holes in their defense to allow the Mason to hail a first set victory of 25-18 and set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We came out as a team, that’s something we have been working on a lot throughout the season, is to play cohesively because we are all individually good players,” said junior middle hitter Roza Gal. “At this point in the season we are really playing strong as a team. Our individual skills are amplified when we play as a team.”
The Mustangs teamwork and talent carried them for the remainder of the second set with an immediate ace from their sophomore setter Lily Kulok, allowing Mason to build a small, two-point lead at 7-5. William Monroe continued to keep pace with the Mustangs’ runs until Gal blocked the Dragons’ shot and their chances of being competitive, giving Mason a comfy 25-19 margin to end the second set.
Teamwork and communication were on point heading into the third set of the evening, and has become one of Mason’s strongest attributes during the home stretch of the season.
“Communication is always one of the biggest things we always work on. I think this game we were definitely more together and more on the same page. We were talking a lot more and the energy was there. We were all just playing our hearts out,” said junior setter Olivia Pilson.
Gal christened the third set with a spike. Despite the strong start, William Monroe continued match the Mustangs point-for-point, with both teams tied at 20 apiece. Mason mounted a 4-1 sprint to close out the match with Boesen’s ace punctuating the win.
The win over the Dragons followed the Mustangs’ straight sets victory against Brentsville District High School last Thursday. Prior to that, Mason had its nine match win streak snapped in a 3-1 loss on the road against Skyline High School.
While Mason celebrates a district title, the team also looks to improve its serving — a key strength from last year’s playoff run — and diversify its offense to keep opponents off balance as it shifts its focus to the postseason.
The Mustangs will conclude the regular season at home next Tuesday, Oct. 29 against Warren County High School at 7:15 p.m.