Mason women's volleyball falls to conference rival VCU

Senior Lana Zonjic goes for the kill against VCU (photo by Anthony Do).
Senior Lana Zonjic goes for the kill against VCU (photo by Anthony Do).

Rivalries bring out the best in a team. That was certainly the case Friday night as Mason lost to long time rival Virginia Commonwealth University in a thrilling five game set 3-2.

Each team traded sets 27-25, 17-25, 27-25, 22-25 until VCU won the final set 15-12. The loss drops Mason’s record to 1-3 in conference play and 5-13 overall and was their third loss in four Atlantic 10 conference games. VCU improved to 5-0 in conference play and 17-4 overall. 

Mason came out strong in the first set leading 20-12 and needing only five more points to get the first set win. The Rams took a timeout and resurged by taking the next seven straight points to bring the score to 20-19. They would eventually finish off the first set 27-25. Not being able to finish would be a trend as the game went on for the Patriots.

In the second set, Mason was able to get another big lead and was able to finish the set on top. The third set was constant back and forth with each mistake being a costly one. Leading 25-24 and serving for the set point, Mason missed the serve and gave VCU a 25-25 tie. Mason went on to eventually lose the set 27-25. The Patriots had a strong fourth set but almost lost the lead again after being up 22-16. They won the set 25-22 to extend the match to a winner takes all fifth set.

In the fifth and final set, the referees made a controversial call switching a point originally awarded to Mason to VCU. Mason appeared to hit the ball inbounds but when VCU head coach Jody Rogers argued the call, it was overturned. The momentum shifted in VCU’s favor and they took advantage, winning the set 15-12 and the match.

“We had trouble finishing,” said Mason head coach Pat Kendrick. “We just have to stay mentally focused on what our jobs are. I think if we can do that those sorts of leads won’t get away from us.”

Senior Lana Zonjic and sophomore Morghan Martin each had strong games leading the Patriots with 17 and 15 kills respectively. Senior Tori Price also played a great game leading the Patriots with 48 assists. Martin, who is second on the team in kills this season with 128, said after the match that it was a game that got away from them but is confident they will bounce back.

“Heartbreaking. We took it all the way to five and didn’t pull through but we learned a lot,” said Martin. “We play everybody twice so I’m not worried about beating them next time. Next time we’ll just finish.”

The next time these two rivals play is on Friday, Oct. 18 in Richmond. Kendrick said that she likes that both teams are back in the same conference, continuing the rivalry.

“We always play them close. They are always a good team to compete against,” said Kendrick. “Now that we’re back in the same conference, it should be fun.”

The Patriots will continue their A-10 conference schedule as they take on La Salle, a team they have already beaten 3-0 this season, Saturday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m. at home. 


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