Women's volleyball falls short to JMU in five sets

Sophomore Laura Spencer led the Lady Patriots with eight blocks, but also provided the team with some offense during their close five-set loss Saturday night against James Madison (Joey McDermott).

The George Mason Lady Patriots (7-17, 2-10 CAA) took on the Lady Dukes of James Madison University (19-8, 9-4 CAA), with the Dukes overcoming the Patriots by a slim margin in the fifth set Saturday night.

The Patriots came out strong in the first set, taking the lead straight from the start and never relinquishing it. Mason concluded the set on top, 25-20.

The second set featured two ties, but was mainly dominated by the Dukes. Madison had 15 kills compared to the 10 that Mason put down. JMU also led this set with six errors, while Mason limited their play to three; however the errors didn’t prove to be fatal to the Dukes since the set still went their way. Mason was able to pull within two points late, but the final score of the set favored Madison, 25-22.

The tiebreaking third set featured a match-high 10 times that the score was tied and a match-tying four lead changes. Both teams committed five errors in the set, while Madison out-performed Mason in kills, 14-13. Both teams were tied at 21 points before the Lady Dukes went on a four-point rout to claim the set, 25-21.

Mason went into the fourth set knowing that they had to win to take the match to a fifth set. The teams drew dead even in kills and errors at 13 and 5 respectively; however Mason pulled through taking the set, 25-21.

The crowd could feel the energy of both teams with the scoring of every single point bringing the home crowd or the away crowd to their feet. The set saw four lead changes and seven tied scores, with the latest tie occurring at 10 points. JMU proceeded to score three straight points before Mason answered back scoring one on a kill by sophomore Lana Zonjic. The Lady Dukes went on to close out the fifth set, 15-12, taking the match 3 sets to 2.

"We've played well at points, and as you saw tonight there are times where we let a couple things get away from us,” head coach Pat Kendrick said. “We'll get out there and practice on Monday to work those things out and be ready for next weekend."

Zonijc led the Mason offense with 16 kills and 17 digs. Senior Noelle Fanelle and sophomore Tori Price also recorded double-digit kill totals with 15 and 10, respectively. Fanelle and Price also had 18 digs and 12 dig, respectively, giving them both double-doubles on the night.

Junior Lauren Goodell had a great night as well, putting up 47 assists to go with 10 digs, while sophomore Laura Spencer led Mason in blocking with a total of 8.

The Patriots conclude their 2011 season next weekend at home, beginning Friday night with a 7 p.m. match against Towson before a Senior Day season finale on Saturday at 5 p.m. against Delaware.

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