Freshman-Inspired Mason Takes a Historic Set From Defending Champion Dayton
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Freshman-Inspired Mason Takes a Historic Set From Defending Champion Dayton

Box Score

WHO: Women's Volleyball at Dayton
WHERE: Frericks Center, Dayton, Ohio
FINAL SCORE: Dayton 3, Mason 1
KEY PLAYERS: Bailey Williams – 12 kills (career-high, team-high), 6 digs; Katrina Santos – 7 kills (career-high), .500 hitting (career-high, team-high); Tiffany Clarke – 11 kills, 4 blocks; Catie Espinoza – 19 digs (match-high)







George Mason (4-11, 0-2 A-10)






Dayton (15-1, 2-0 A-10)






DAYTON, Ohio – Unburdened by history, freshmen Bailey Williams and Katrina Santos of George Mason University's women's volleyball team played with no fear on Dayton's Frericks Center court on Sunday, helping the Patriots claw their way to an unprecedented achievement – winning their first-ever set against the two-time defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion in a four-set defeat.


-Outside hitter Williams led the Patriots with a career-high 12 kills and, as usual, contributed in defense, picking up six digs and a block. Senior opposite hitter Tiffany Clarke also finished with double digits in attack, contributing 11 kills. Meanwhile Santos rewarded head coach Jackie Simpson-Kirr, who handed her a starting spot for the fifth match in a row, with career-best seven kills, which she picked up while committing zero attack errors. Clarke added four blocks to that, one of them the only solo block in the match, while junior middle blocker Sydney Fanoga had a match-high five blocks. Sophomore libero Catie Espinoza also put in a match-high performance with 19 digs, leaving the 12 digs by the Flyers' 2015 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection Margo Wolf as second-best. Freshman outside hitter Mikala Wells followed Espinoza with 10 kills.

-Dayton also had two players with double-digit kills, Jamie Peterson (16) and Lauren Bruns (11). Wolf led the Flyers in digs, but had only one more than Maggie Schutter, who picked up 11. Kendyll Brown was Dayton's best net defender in the match with four blocks.

 -The first set was dominated by Dayton, who took the lead with a 3-0 run at the very start. Mason could never respond and tie the score as defending champions landed the first blow with 25-16 in the opening set.

-The Flyers were cruising in the second set and entered double digits with a seven-point lead. Mason called a timeout while trailing 18-12 later on and Simpson-Kirr inspired her team to a 3-0 run in which Clarke had a leading role with two kills and a block assist. The Patriots were within three twice more, lastly at 20-17, but Dayton finished the set strong and took it 25-19.

-A service error by Megan Giardina made for Mason's first lead of the match, but the Patriots could not build not it and two plays later they were once again in trailing role after a kill by Peterson made the score 2-1 Dayton. Fanoga put her team in the lead once again two plays later and although the Flyers did not get back in the driving seat right away, Mason had to demonstrate iron nerves to keep the home team at bay. In fact, with the teams tied at 13 later on, it was Dayton's nerves who snapped first and the Flyers committed four errors of various kinds in a row to make for the biggest run in the set and keep the Patriots ahead, 17-13. With more breathing space, Mason looked more relaxed and increased the lead to five twice, but still needed a timeout at one point to kill Dayton's momentum at 22-20. With the lead just one at 23-22, junior outside hitter Jordan Glass and Williams, respectively, picked up kills that not only allowed the Patriots to stay in the match but which will also stay in history as closing the first set that Mason has taken from Dayton in A-10 play, 25-22.

-A kill by Santos for 1-1 brought Mason on level terms for the first and only time in the fourth set because from there on Dayton showed the type of play that has won the Flyers back-to-back conference championships. Hitting .333 in the set, picking up five service aces, three blocks, and 12 digs, the home team dominated and set an end to the contest with a decisive 25-11 score.    


-For the fifth time this season, the Patriots hit above .200 as a team, but their .214 mark was bested by the Flyers' .271 hitting percentage. Nevertheless, Mason had two more kills than Dayton, 49-47.

-Simpson-Kirr's outdug the home team by an even narrower of a margin, 50-49.

-Dayton, however, was stronger at the net and picked up 9.5 team blocks, compared to Mason's four.


“Our team has made major improvements this season. Dayton is one of the best teams we've played thus far. I was proud of our attackers, who hit .214 against a very good blocking team that holds their opponents to .187 on average. This aggressive mentality is critical to our team's success moving forward in A-10 play.” – Mason's head coach Jackie Simpson-Kirr


The Patriots continue their conference play at home next weekend, welcoming Rhode Island on Friday and Fordham on Saturday. Both matches are set to start at 7 p.m.



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