By Mike Abler
An undefeated season is no more, as the Mustangs volleyball team’s 15-0 record added its first — and only — loss when it fell 3-1 to New Kent High School in the Class 3 state semi-final on Tuesday night.
New Kent had the Mustangs’ number throughout the night and it showed early on.
The first set got away from the Mustangs quickly as the Trojans jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
The Falls Church locals were able to keep it close early in the second set with a 5-5 tie, but then New Kent went on a 20-9 run the rest of the way to push the Mustangs into desperation mode.
With their backs against the wall and being easily defeated in the first two sets, the Mustangs needed a jolt to get them back on track.
Luckily, they got just that when they pulled together to win the third set 25-18. It also gave the home crowd a reason to cheer once again.
But the resurgence was short-lived.
The Mustangs were competitive in the fourth and eventually final set, but the Trojans proved to be too sharp, and wound up downing the Mustangs.
Despite the disappointment, there was nothing but admiration and happiness between the players and the fans after the game.
Happiness for the experience of a season that almost didn’t happen.
“Having a season is a victory itself,” Head Coach Derek Baxter said, who was still proud of his team. When it came to the future, Baxter remained optimistic, “We got nine seniors leaving, but we also have a few juniors and a sophomore with great potential.”
The low of Tuesday came after the season’s greatest high last Friday when the Mustangs defeated Independence High School in five sets to become the Region 3B champions.
Independence won the first set, but Mason managed to win two of the next three sets to force a 2-2 tie. In the decisive final frame, the Mustangs claimed a handy, 15-8 win.
Seniors Megan Boeson and Roza Gal led the way with nine kills each.
Senior Colson Board is the only member of the Mustangs cross country team who qualified for the Class 3 state meet, which took place Wednesday afternoon.
He earned his trip to the state meet after the boy’s squad took third place at the Region 3B Championship meet. At that competition, Board ran his 5000 meter race in 16:31.
All of the Mustangs spring sports teams are kicking off their seasons either this week or throughout the next week.
The boys and girls tennis teams begin their regular season this week. The boys traveled to Central High School on Wednesday and then will go to Warren County High School for their second match on Friday. Meanwhile, the girls opened at home against Central on Wednesday before hosting Warren County on Friday.
The Mustangs’ baseball season will begin April 28 when they hit the road to visit Skyline High School after their game against Manassas Park High School on Monday was canceled. Softball, however, will open on the road against Manassas Park on Monday.
Girls lacrosse for the local high school will start their season with a road game against Paul VI Catholic High School on April 28. The boys lacrosse team will wait an extra day to host John Handley High School on April 29.
And the girls soccer team will host Manassas Park on April 30 to begin their season, while the boys soccer team will travel to Manassas Park that same day to begin theirs.