The women’s volleyball team defeated the Delaware Blue Hens when it mattered most. Down 2-1 in sets, Mason prolonged their successful season by taking the final two sets. The VCU Rams swept the William & Mary Tribe in three sets to set up a tantalizing matchup between Mason and the Rams.

Junior opposite hitter and middle blocker Holly Goode, who was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, led all players with 20 kills. With 14 digs, Goode notched her 10th double-double this season.

In their two meetings this season, Mason dropped both matches in straight sets. This time around, Mason built a 20-15 lead, but the Blue Hens rallied to cut the lead to one, 24-23. Mason finally won their first set against the Blue Hens with a kill from Goode. Mason led 18-13 in the second set, but the team was unable to stave off the Blue Hens’ rally. Outside hitter Kelly Gibson served two aces to close the gap to 18-17, and by the time Head Coach Pat Kendrick, the CAA Coach of the Year, called timeout, Mason could not recover from the Blue Hens’ rally. After leading 18-13, Mason allowed the Blue Hens to score the next seven points. The Blue Hens took the second set 25-23 as Mason was unable to regain the lead.

The situation would not get any better in the third set for Mason, who trailed 15-3 early in the set. Senior outside hitter Rebecca Walter was issued a yellow card, and even though Mason gradually came back, the Blue Hens were able to hold off Mason’s rally, taking the third set 25-20.

The last time Mason played in Richmond, the team took a 2-1 set lead over the Rams, but dropped a heartbreaker in five sets. With the season dwindling for Mason, the team was able to keep close with the Blue Hens in the fourth set. The Blue Hens never led by more than three points in the set. Tied at 16-all, Mason broke away from the tie when outside hitter Alissa Aiker recorded a ball-handling error. Mason forced a fifth set after winning the fourth set 25-21.

The team took the first three points in the fifth set and cruised to victory, dethroning the Blue Hens from contending for the CAA title. Mason matched their 2002 win total, recording number 22 in a crucial match. The team looks to win their first conference title since the 2003 season. However, they have a tough task in facing the Rams, winners of 10 straight. The two teams split the season series with each team winning on their home floor in five sets. Tomorrow’s match will start at 7 p.m.

Over the weekend, four Mason players were recognized for their success in the 2009 season. Ranked third in the conference in kills and fifth in attack percentage, Goode became the sixth Mason player to win the Player of the Year award. Goode joined sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bohman, the CAA’s leading blocker, on the All-CAA First Team. Junior setter Fernanda Bartels earned second team honors, and freshman libero Koala Matsuoka, who emerged late in the season, was nominated to the All-Rookie Team.