By Michael Abler, Staff Writer
On Saturday September 2nd, the Mason Ladies’ Volleyball team faced off against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers and the Central Michigan Chippewas as they hosted the annual George Mason Invitational tournament. Patriots we unable to muster much strength as they were swept 0-3 against UPenn and later that night won only one set against Central Michigan (1-3). Mason has only mustered one win in seven matches to start the season.
In the first set against UPenn, Mason showed several problems that became a running theme of the day. In game 1 of Mason’s doubleheader, there were too many undisciplined mistakes and missed opportunities that cost the Patriots dearly.
Despite the poor showing, Mason did show some signs of life. Mason held onto at least a tie in every set, or managed to put a few runs together to make the Quakers sweat a little bit. The other major problems of the matches were that the Patriots had 7 service errors and 3 rotation penalties, mistakes that can really hurt a team.
However, Mason kept the final 2 sets close. They lost big 25-12 in the first round to UPenn, but never trailed by more than 8 points the rest of the way. During the final set, Mason showed that they can be a more complete team. Gone were the abundant mistakes and errors, and instead the fans at the RAC witnessed a final set full of heart and determination of a high scoring shootout that eventually resulted in a 25-21 loss with many positives to take away from the match. As the match progressed, they lost by fewer points in each set.
Mason sports a very young team. Almost half of the Women’s Volleyball team is comprised of Freshman and Sophomores, so the fact that they continued to improve throughout the Invitational shows that they have a solid amount of potential to be very dangerous in the future. It also shows that there is some room for the team to improve as the season progresses.
The team’s First Year Head Coach Aylene Ilkson, was still very proud of the way her girls played, saying that, “While we need to work on blocking as a strategy, I feel like we as team need to take more big swings and we need to be more aggressive.”
Ilkson cited that Freshman player Emily Konchan was one of the young players that, “Stayed calm and composed throughout the game.” Konchan may not have scored any kills, but with 23 assists, she put a lot of her teammates in position to score frequently, showcasing a very selfless team player. She also led the team in assists by a wide margin over Senior Kelly Schaller, who finished the match with two assists.
The Patriots showed tenacity throughout the match and displayed a fair amount of heart, and hopefully they can find a way to turn this season around.
In game two of the George Mason Invitational on Saturday night against Central Michigan, Mason fell three sets to one.
Freshman Emily Konchan continued to impress by scoring 38 more assists and added an ace to her scoring line in the match to lead both teams in that category. Sophomore Bailey Williams led the way with 13 kills.