Brian T. Chan, Sports Editor

Junior middle blocker and opposite hitter Holly Goode claims that she was really bad when she first encountered volleyball in high school. Goode, who needed just two years of experience prior to joining the George Mason University women’s volleyball team, is finally at the breakout point of her career as a full-time starter.

Entering the season’s conference opener, Goode led the team with 129 kills and a .312 attack percentage. Goode has been on a tear lately, recording double-digit kills in the past five matches. During that span, she averaged 3.15 kills per set and posted a .361 attack percentage.

“Sometimes if I play well the first game with my hair a certain way, I will [have the routine to] do my hair that way [for upcoming games],” said Goode.

Goode had a career-high 11 kills against the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks last season. She already surpassed that total five times this season. Goode registered 17 kills in just the second match this season, a five-set thriller against the Georgetown Hoyas in the D.C. Volleyball Challenge.

Goode, an exercise science major, arrived at the Fairfax campus two years ago and immediately fell in love with the campus. The nature scenery attracted Goode in her decision to attend Mason. Plus, she liked the idea of being just 20 minutes from Washington, D.C.

Goode, a Virginia Beach native, played two years of both volleyball and basketball at Kempsville High School, where she was named to the All-Beach District Second Team for volleyball.

“I wanted to [give up basketball for volleyball]. I played basketball for 10 years, but I liked playing volleyball more. It is more fun and team-orientated,” said Goode.

Transitioning from basketball to volleyball, Goode recalls her early struggles during her first tryout.
“I tried out for the [high school] team and I was really bad, so I got, like, a personal trainer person to help me, and that helped me come along really fast. I just kept hitting,” said Goode.

Goode, whose biggest asset is her vertical jump, quickly picked up the game and started to see that the game was coming to her. She said her greatest volleyball moment consisted of her club volleyball team defeating the number one team in the nation during her senior year. Her skillset and ebullience for volleyball was especially useful for a school that was looking to rebound from its past misfortunes. Prior to Goode’s arrival, Mason went 11-38 in the last two seasons.

In her first season, Goode became an immediate impact and helped the team to a 14-13 record. She ranked fifth on the team with 103 kills and was third with a .212 attack percentage. Last season, she registered 71 kills and experienced a drop with a .184 attack percentage.

Goode, whose goal entering the 2009 season was to start and keep her starting position, is now shooting for an opportunity to be named to the All-CAA Team.

Goode ranks ninth in the conference in attack percentage and seventh with 2.93 kills per set. On a larger scale, her emergence as one of the CAA’s top players has been running hand in hand with Mason’s turnaround this season. Mason currently has the second-best record in the CAA at 11-4 after posting a 9-18 record last season. Although the team concluded the 2008 season with three consecutive wins, Mason was never able to recover from their long losing streaks.

“We are doing really well and we are working well as a team. We just have good freshmen that came in and stepped up, and our team is a lot better than last year’s,” said Goode. “We have the potential to host the conference tournament at the end of the season. I think that, if not, we will be first no matter where we go.”

Goode, who came into the season with 23 starts in 51 appearances, was implemented as a starter with the team losing three players to graduation last season. With a balanced team equipped with experience and youth, she has made the most of this season as a mentor.

“It’s not really that big of a deal [in becoming a more experienced player and a leader on the team] to me. I just play to be part of the team and help the team out, and if people look up to me, then I will give pointers, but I am not about myself,” said Goode.

In addition to that, the team’s success has cultivated a positive atmosphere. This season, the team outlasted their opponents in five sets three times, but recently lost a heartbreaker to the West Virginia Mountaineers, who had to rally from a two-set deficit.

“[In the West Virginia Invitational], we won the first two matches and did not finish and lost in five sets. Last year, we would play five sets and lose, but this year, we would play five sets and win. It is just that extra push and teamwork and effort that we give,” said Goode.

Let the Goode times roll.


1 Comment