Volleyball comes back from losing streak, toppling George Mason in first A-10 win

Media Credit: Gabrielle Carmichael | Photographer

Senior setter Jaimeson Lee sets the ball in a game against George Mason. The Colonials beat the Patriots 3–2.

Volleyball snapped a two-game losing streak, picking up its first Atlantic 10 win of the season against George Mason Saturday.

The Colonials (7-7, 1-0 A-10) clawed back from a two-set deficit, winning three consecutive sets 25–20, 25–17 and 15–11, respectively, to notch their first A-10 win of the year against the Patriots (4-9, 0-1 A-10).

GW tallied the most kills (63) and assists (61) so far this season. The team also tied its highest number of total attacks (183).

“We have a path for us to be really good and they’re just staying on it and trusting that we’ll get there,” head coach Sarah Bernson said. “Our emotional composure is much better this year than it was last year.”

Seniors outside hitter Skylar Iott nabbed a career-high 33 kills and setter Jaimeson Lee came in two assists shy of a career-high in a game with 54 helpers on the night.

The Colonials were neck and neck with the Patriots throughout the first set until George Mason began to pull away, leading the squad by 10 points. With GW down 23–13, the team rallied to earn eight unanswered points, coming within two points of George Mason. The opponent edged the Colonials, ending the set 25–22.

In the second set, the Patriots and GW remained close, trading points throughout the match and exchanging the lead six times. Despite recording their highest attacking percentage (.293) and lowest number of errors (2), the Colonials dropped the set 26–23.

With its backs against the wall, Lee said the team looked to the seniors on the court for composure throughout the match.

“That was just our focus, being disciplined on those long rallies,” Lee said, “Everybody is looking at us and they want us to react and if we are frantic and freaking out, that’s how the team is going to be as well.”

The Colonials tore down the wall in the third set and didn’t give up their lead until they had scored 25 points to the Patriots’ 20. The squad ended the set on a six-point streak.

The squad continued its success into the fourth set, swinging at a .278 clip over George Mason’s .158 clip. The team earned a decisive 25–17 victory, sending the match into a fifth winner-take-all set.

In a truncated 15–11 set, the Colonials knocked out the Patriots, garnering more than two times the number of kills. Iott led the squad, delivering 10 of the team’s 11 kills to retire the Patriot’s stout defense.

Despite unsuccessful attempts in the first and second set, the Colonials relied on running slides, a method of disguising the position of the hit, to bolster their explosive offense in the third, fourth and fifth sets, Bernson said.

Bernson said the team’s strength and conditioning training prepared it for long, physically demanding matches like the squad’s duel with George Mason.

“All the strength and conditioning and weights we’ve been doing since Aug. 9 has really led to us being in a good fitness level so that we could take a two and a half hour match and we could handle that load and execute on the last point” Bernson said.

Iott said the team tackled adversity after dropping its first two matches and facing a must-win scenario in the third, fourth and fifth sets. She added that the team turned to each other for support and took each set one point at a time.

“A lot of it is just not faking it but, pushing with everything you have because when you are down, you’re down emotionally and mentally,” Iott said. “You’re like, ‘This is not how we play. This is not how we want to be like.’”

The Colonials are back in action Friday at Duquesne. First serve is at 7 p.m.

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