Volleyball extends losing streak with second loss to George Mason this season

Media Credit: Max Wang | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior setter Jaimeson Lee sets the ball to a teammate at a home game Thursday night.

Volleyball lost to George Mason 3–1 at home Thursday, extending GW’s losing streak to seven games.

The loss is the second time the Colonials (8–14, 2–8 A-10) have fallen to George Mason (8–12, 6–4 A-10) this season.

The Colonials ended the evening with a .121 attack percentage and were led by senior middle blocker Kelsey Clark and junior outside hitter Skylar Iott with 13 kills each. The Patriots were held to a .175 attack percentage on the night.

Both teams committed 23 errors in the match.

“Every single mistake we made was a mental mistake,” sophomore middle blocker Callie Fauntleroy said. “Most of our balls that we either hit out or weren’t as aggressive with were balls that all could have been points, and that’s all based on where our mental game was at at that moment.”

During the first set, the Colonials consistently matched the Patriots run-for-run. GW opened the frame with a 4–0 run, but George Mason answered back with a 3–0 run of its own. Both teams traded points before the Patriots opened a 5–0 scoring run that put them ahead 10–7. Another slew of points put GW up 14–12 but the Patriots kept battling back.

The Colonials were down three but came back to take a 25–24 lead before George Mason put away three unanswered points to take the victory. Despite the win, George Mason had a match-high 12 errors in the set.

The Colonials managed to equalize the match with a commanding 25–19 victory in the second set.

Fauntleroy said GW’s dominant second set was a result of the momentum carried from the first set.

“We didn’t let them get a lot of runs on us,” Fauntleroy said. “We kept persevering through those lulls, and that’s a big reason we won.”

Throughout the set, the Colonials tightened up their defense and heightened their focus. The Colonials only allowed four errors that set, their lowest on the night. GW never trailed George Mason in the second frame.

But the third set was a different story as the Colonials dug themselves into an early hole and were never able to pull themselves out. Beset by costly errors and mental mistakes, the Colonials fell by a score of 25–18.

“We didn’t start great in the third,” head coach Sarah Bernson said. “We peaked in the second and kept going down, so it was hard to turn our focus and energy around after that.”

Players said part of their third set lull was caused by a lack of communication on the court. George Mason found holes in the Colonials’ defense that allowed the Patriots to take a 7–2 lead they never relinquished.

“I think we needed to play more aggressively, and definitely communicate more to each other,” sophomore libero Sydney Welch said. “We got a little quiet, and I think that was one of the biggest faults during the game.”

While the Colonials tallied their highest hit percentage of the night at .205, George Mason’s defense triumphed.

The Colonials managed to keep the game level through the first 16 serves of the fourth set. GW’s offense shut down while the George Mason defense rose up, and the Colonials lost the set 25–18.

Bernson said the loss was a result of the team’s lack of focus in crucial moments. The Colonials lagged behind the Patriots in kills, digs and blocks.

“It takes a lot of focus to keep that going for multiple hours,” Bernson said. “We keep tackling it, and we’re just going to keep working on it.”

In order to win against strong defensive teams, Welch said the team will have to elevate its offense.

“Mason’s defense has always been good and was stellar tonight,” Welch said. “If we can be more shot-y, and find better ways to place the ball to score, then that will help us in the future.”

The Colonials return to action 7 p.m. Friday at the Smith Center when they host VCU.

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