Mason drops Strasburg in four

STRASBURG – Though winning George Mason showed plenty of offense in its 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-16 and 25-9) victory, it may have been its defense which led the way.

The Mustangs (4-0 Bull Run District, 5-2 overall) outscored Strasburg’s volleyball team (1-3, 1-5) by 20 points in a Conference 35/district match, but for all intents and purposes, Mason took away the Rams’ offense in the final three sets to spring the victory.

After two of Strasburg’s best offensive players recorded seven kills, one ace and two blocks in the first game-a nine-point SHS victory-the pair were held to three kills, an ace and a block the rest of the way.

“We were doing some things in the first game that led to some open spots on the floor, and we got that fixed moving forward,” said George Mason coach Hillary Trebels.

Meanwhile, after losing set one, the Mustangs’ hitters got into the act to easily run away from the Rams.

Vicky-Marie Addo-Ashong scored 15 goals, an ace and two blocks and GM teammate Kate Karstens added 14 goals and five blocks to lead the winners.

On the night, Mason outscored Strasburg with 43 kills, four aces and eight blocks to 25-3-4 for the Rams.

“We stopped swinging at the ball and then started giving them easy goals. In the first set, we swung away and served aggressively. We’ve shown we can play with teams, we just haven’t done it consistently,” said Strasburg coach Suzanne Mathias. The team defeated Madison County recently for the first time since 2011.

The home crowd was in a festive mood as Strasburg started giving the home contingent something to root for.

After falling behind 6-3, the Rams scored five straight goals for an 8-6 lead. They later expanded that lead to 14-7 and led by as many as nine, 21-12.

In the first set, Strasburg was able to put a cap on Addo-Ashong and Karstens, relatively speaking, but in set two, Mason coach Trebels decided to go with more set plays and the two Mustangs went to work.

With Karstens minding the net, Addo-Ashong moved to the outside. The Mustangs threw in some misdirection plays between the two and George Mason erupted to a 5-0 lead in set two.

Strasburg kept chipping away and forced a tie at 9 and ll. The Rams trailed 16-15 when Karstens scored a kill, Strasburg committed an error, Addo-Ashong scored a kill and the Rams contributed an unforced error. It was 20-15 Mason after a 4-0 run in points.

Strasburg got it to 24-21, but George Mason converted on its third set-point to tie the match at 1-1.

The Mustangs were not done. They opened a 7-1 lead in the third set. The Rams never got closer than five points.

In game four, Strasburg took an early 2-0 lead and led 5-4. The one-point advantage would be the Rams’ final lead of the night. The Mustangs rolled up five points for a 12-6 lead and never looked back.

George Mason was the third straight Bull Run District to beat Strasburg showing an undefeated league mark. Rappahannock was 3-0 in a 3-zip whitewashing; Strasburg beat Madison. Clarke County, like George Mason, was 3-0. The Eagles dealt the Rams a 3-2 defeat.

Those amounted to three of the Rams’ four losses.

“We’re waiting for somebody to stand up and be accountable,” Mathias said.

Rachel Funkhouser had five kills, an ace and a block for Strasburg. Carey Scott had five kills and an ace.