Volleyball loses to George Mason for first time in more than a decade

Media Credit: Dean Whitelaw | Hatchet Photographer

Junior outside hitter Jordan Young spikes the ball during Friday night's game against Mason. The Colonials lost to the Patriots in four sets.

George Mason defeated volleyball for the first time in more than a decade Friday night.

The Colonials (7–7, 1–2 A-10) claimed the first set before dropping the next three to the Patriots (4–9, 2–1 A-10) to lose the match 3–1.

The defeat marks the Colonials’ second-consecutive loss in Atlantic 10 play, following their 3–1 loss to Dayton last week. The Patriots, who went 2–8 in nonconference play, were ranked last in the A-10 preseason poll while GW was ranked fifth.

An athletics department spokesperson declined to provide interviews with athletes on site postgame, citing a department policy.

The Patriots excelled in their blocking game, posting 19.5 blocks throughout the match, averaging out to 4.9 per set. Heading into the match, George Mason averaged two blocks per set. The Colonials’ blocking game tallied three blocks on the night.

“Our blocking just wasn’t with us,” head coach Sarah Bernson said. “We could have survived not doing great if our hitting arms had been there. There were too many pieces that weren’t executed.”

The Colonials posted a -.030 attack percentage against the Patriots, their worst of the season.

Serve receive was also a weak area for GW. Heading into the match, the Colonials averaged 16.1 digs per set, but against the Patriots, GW made 13.5 digs per set. Freshman libero Bella Bowman, who averages 4.5 digs per set, posted 2.5 per set on the night.

“Accountability’s the word. We need to change our approach, our execution and our work-rate in order to get better,” Bernson said.

The Colonials started the night winning the first set despite posting an attack percentage of .071. GW held the Patriots to a mere .031 percentage. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Marianna Warren – her third of the set – sealed the 25–20 victory for the Colonials.

The Colonials conceded the second set 25–19, hitting a -.067 attack percentage, with eight kills and 10 errors in 30 attempts. The first half of the set was tightly contested, with five lead changes between the two teams. But George Mason’s season-high six blocks and .188 attack percentage proved enough to rise over the Colonials.

In the third set, the Colonials started off hot, quickly putting up points with the help of two consecutive kills by junior outside hitter Skylar Iott. But GW’s offensive outburst soon dried up, resulting in a .000 percent attack average for the set. The Patriots experienced no such shortage in offensive effort, with 10 kills and six service aces to take the set 25–16.

The fourth set was a similar story. After going point-for-point at the start of the set, the Patriots quickly ran away with the frame, going on a nine-point tear the Colonials could not answer. GW eventually dropped the final frame 25–10.

Arielle Bader | Staff Photographer

Members of the volleyball team huddle in to receive direction from head coach Sarah Bernson.

Heading into the night’s game, sophomore middle blocker Callie Fauntleroy and junior setter Jamieson Lee said the team was focusing on holding each other accountable and improving their blocking game.

“Definitely just holding each other accountable, we need to do that a lot more this year if we want to win. We need to be able to say things to each other, our coaches need to be able to say things to each other and no one gets their feelings hurt,” Lee said in an interview earlier this week.

The Colonials will take a weeklong break before returning to action 7 p.m. Friday against Rhode Island at home.

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