4th Straight Win Has Mason in Region Semifinal

By Caitlin Butler

SOPHOMORE MIDDLE HITTER Sydney Longer goes up with junior middle hitter Vanessa George to stuff a kill attempt earlier this season. (Photo: Carol Sly)

George Mason High School’s volleyball team now has four straight-set victories in a row after acing away the playoff hopes of Maggie Walker Governor’s School in the 3B Region quarterfinal Tuesday night.

“Our serving was really on tonight. We missed a couple serves but, we had a lot of aces,” said Junior setter Olivia Pilson.

The first set was controlled by the visiting Dragons, leading Mason, 7-4. But the Mustangs quickly found their momentum with a stellar spike to a hole in the Dragons defense from junior outside hitter Megan Boesen to give Mason the advantage with a score of 9-8.

The Mustangs came out slow with a lot of the nerves of the tournament boiling into their early play.

“We started very tight. It was beginning match jitters,” Mason head coach Derek Baxter said. “We play better when we’re loose. If we start tensing up or start getting serious we don’t play well. We needed to loosen it up and focus on the basics.”

Junior middle hitter Roza Gal helped put the Mustangs within a point of winning the first set with a crucial ace. A poorly executed serve from Maggie Walker eventually handed Mason a 25-15 win in its favor.

The second set was owned by the Mustangs from start to finish. Mason captured the first several points due to the smooth serving of Pilson and quickly built an 8-0 lead over the Dragons. Boesen’s back-to-back aces continued to apply pressure on Maggie Walker and tilted the match in favor of the Mustangs. A 25-9 final line made Mason seem unstoppable as it headed into the final set.

“As the game progressed we got our energy and momentum,” said Pilson.

The third set began with a seesaw battle until junior middle Vanessa George served up multiple aces for Mason and accrued a 14-7 edge for the home team. The Mustangs easily claimed the match with a third set win of 25-10.

“We’re really going to work on our competitiveness. We are also focusing on our side of the court and getting that togetherness. Especially our offense, we want to try to mix things up and show our different types of offense.” Pilson added.

The Mustangs would make their second trip to the state tournament in as many years if they are to secure a victory over sixth-seeded Independence High School in the regional semifinal at home tonight at 6:30 p.m.