• by Stephen Kline

    Patriots Claim No. 3 Seed in CAA Tournament After Loss to VCU

    Sports February 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm Comments are Disabled

    RICHMOND – As the Rams lined up to pose for a picture with Bradford Burgess on Senior Night, the Patriots emerged from the tunnel much to the irratation of the sold-out crowd inside the Siegel Center. Their unwanted presence in the background of the Rams’ photo drew a subtle exchange of words between the two rivals.­­ VCU had just been disrespected on their home floor. And they would not soon forget. “We noticed,” said Shaka Smart, VCU coach. “And we fed off of it.” From the opening tip, Mason was a step slower than the active VCU defense. They turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, helping the Rams build a 16-point lead heading into the break. Point guards Bryon Allen and Corey Edwards had more turnovers (6) than the entire Rams’ roster in the first 20 minutes of play. “I’m of the belief that they are the kind of team that is going to have those runs,” Hewitt said. “But if you hang in there, you’re going to give yourselves a chance.” The second half, however, carried a much different tune. Mason outscored their opponents 50-46 in the half, chipping away at a sizeable deficit and […]

  • Men’s Rugby, Home of the Gang Green

    Men’s Rugby, Home of the Gang Green

    Sports February 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm Comments are Disabled

      The George Mason University men’s club rugby team is gearing up for its 47th spring season. Founded in 1965, men’s rugby is the oldest club team on campus. During the fall, the team plays competitively in Division II of the Potomac Rugby Union. Games and practices are held for fun and training purposes during the spring. “We’re all here because we love the game,” said senior civil engineering major Rawaz Mutabchi. “We’ve had matches before where the teams were unevenly matched, so we swapped teammates so that we could keep playing.” There were approximately 40 men on the team last fall, though the players and coaches are always looking to recruit more. “No matter what size you are, we have a position for anybody,” said sophomore photography major Zander Shaw. “When I first started playing, I was scared and had no idea what I was doing. The game is very natural, though. I picked it up very easily,” Head coach Fred Bardot has been playing rugby since he was 6 years old and played professionally in France, Argentina and the United States. For the past 10 years, he’s been coaching at Mason and working for USA Rugby to coach […]

  • Despite Best Efforts, Wrestlers End Season with 6-16 Record

    Despite Best Efforts, Wrestlers End Season with 6-16 Record

    Sports February 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm Comments are Disabled

    College wrestling is a unique sport. Like countless other student-athletes, the men give up their free time to train and compete, but for wrestlers, college is more than likely their last hurrah. “It’s special because there’s no professional leagues out there for wrestlers, or money down the road, so its great to have opportunities for wrestlers at Mason. Its’ not like they’re making a lot of money because they’re wrestling. They love the sport so they do it for the challenge,” coach Joe Russell said. On Thursday, Feb. 16, the team hosted their last home match of the season, and recognized the team’s five seniors, Brian Benton, Denny Herndon III, Hunter Manspile, Mendbagana Tovuujav, and Frankie McLaughlin IV. Though there were individual successes against the highly ranked University of Maryland, the team did not pull off a win. Vincent Rodriguez, a freshman, won his match at 125 pounds with a score of 3-0. Co-caption and redshirt Herndon won his final dual on the team 5-3, giving the Mason team a boost in the overall team score. 197 pound Tovuujav took his sixteenth victory of the season 12-4, finishing his final home match strong. “We want to build a program that […]

  • Hockey Beats Local Rivals: NVCC Gets Pucked Up

    Hockey Beats Local Rivals: NVCC Gets Pucked Up

    Sports February 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm Comments are Disabled

    Huddled together to stay warm in the chilly arena, Mason students were ready to cheer for the Mason Ice Hockey team as they played rivals Northern Virginia Community College Friday night at the Prince William Ice Arena. By the end of the game, after several fights between the opposing teams, fans were heated and jumping out of their seats as Mason came out winning 8-2. Clinching a playoff berth against NVCC, Mason is headed to the Blue Ridge Hockey Conference playoffs where they will play either ODU or Maryland at the Herbert Wells Ice Arena in College Park on Feb 23. Gaining a spot in the playoffs wasn’t the only highlight of Friday’s game. Beginning new traditions, Mason honored its senior players in a ceremony before the start of the game: Team Captain Andrew Rudzinski, Alternate Captain Ryan Pageau, Jacob Van der Veen, and Spencer Wolf. The team also recognized alumni from previous seasons. As these players go on to other feats in life, the future looks bright for them, as well as the team. Freshman Forward Dylan Talbot, who scored two goals, is a nominee for the Blue Ridge All-Star team along with fellow teammates Brian Bock and captain […]

  • by Stephen Kline

    Merten Family Says Goodbye in Their Final Home Game

    Sports February 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm Comments are Disabled

    For nearly 16 years, those two words have rung throughout the home arena, students and fans standing to recognize the man who has made the biggest impact on George Mason University. They chant his name in order to reciprocate the love and affection that President Alan Merten and his wife, Sally, have showed all students, staff and fans since they arrived in Fairfax in July 1996. And on Saturday evening, they chanted his name to say farewell. Raising both hands in the air, President Alan Merten stood to acknowledge the “Al-an Mert-en” chants that echoed throughout the crowd of over 7,000. He and his wife both wore big smiles as they admired the plethora of white T-shirts that stacked to the rafters of the Patriot Platoon. “It reminds me of what I’m here for,” Merten said during a conversation in November. “And that’s the students.” Nearly 16 years ago, Merten and his wife took office as president and first lady of a small, commuter university that schooled just 24,000 students. Using athletics as the front door, the Mertens played a major role in morphing the university into the fastest growing institution in Virginia, eclipsing the 30,000-student mark and being recognized […]

  • by Stephen Kline

    Pearson of the Year

    Sports February 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm Comments are Disabled

    Fans in Fairfax were shocked when the Preseason Player of the Year votes were tallied and their senior forward was not at the top of the list. How could Ryan Pearson play second fiddle to an injured Kent Bazemore to open the season? Bazemore finished last season scoring 12.3 points per game, but added 98 assists and 76 steals to his game as a swing man. The CAA is known as a defensive league — perimeter players can steal the ball in the blink of an eye — but after winning the postseason tournament, the Monarchs fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Pearson was coming off the best season of his career. With nearly seven rebounds and 14.2 points per game, he anchored the Patriots’ frontcourt. His consistent play propelled Mason to finishing at the top of the regular season standings and into the NCAA’s Round of 32. Not even a coaching change could hold back what this player would unleash in his senior year. “It was difficult. Different coaches have their different styles, coaching styles. His style, I want to say, is more free,” Pearson said. “We just do what we know to do. He […]

  • Women’s Lacrosse Starts with Fast Break

    Women’s Lacrosse Starts with Fast Break

    Sports February 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm Comments are Disabled

    On a frigid, snowy Saturday afternoon, the Mason women’s lacrosse team opened their season at home with an impressive 19–9 victory over the Saint Francis University Red Flash. The Patriots were led by a balanced offensive attack that saw three different players score four or more goals. “We’ve worked a lot with our attack,” said head coach Lauren Hay. “Coach [Jaclyn] O’Leary has the attack, and we’ve really worked in the off-season as far as having a balanced attack, and we really feel like the girls showcased that today, so we’re excited about that. It’s not just one person. We have that balanced attack, and everyone is going to be a threat for us.” Mason opened the game with a 3–0 lead that began with junior midfielder Caitlin Formato scoring the first of her five goals, followed by scores from seniors Emily Ellisen and Mary Schwartz who each scored four on the day, with Schwartz also contributing two assists. SFU’s first goal was quickly answered by a 4-0 Patriots run that saw Formato, Ellisen and Schwartz each add their second scores, while sophomore attacker Katie Mascolo scored her first of two, off of an assist from junior midfielder Allie Hilderbrandt. […]

  • Women’s Season Best Under Porter

    Women’s Season Best Under Porter

    Sports February 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm Comments are Disabled

      After the 2003-04 women’s basketball season, Coach Debbie Taneyhill was reeling from a successful season. Her girls went 18-11 and won 11 games in the CAA. Of course, these were the days when Old Dominion ran the conference. They had won every regular season and every tournament in the conference since 1992. This season, the Patriots sit in the middle of the conference with a 5-6 record, not quite like the early 2000s, but more reminiscent any year since. They’re coming around to playing CAA basketball. “There’s another element on this level,” Coach Jeri Porter said. “There’s a mental and physical toughness, playing 40 minutes, being able to handle somebody’s run, and answer it.” The Patriots took second place in the 2004 CAA tournament, losing to Old Dominion by an 85-81 final score and the Monarchs would continue to dominate the Atlantic seaboard through the 2008 season. But the conference was headed to change. It was the Patriots last season with a winning record. The next year went a bit worse. A first-round CAA loss ended the season after an 8-10 conference mark. The 2006 season took them a round further before Old Dominion ended their postseason hopes again. […]

  • by Stephen Kline

    Advantage: Mason

    Sports February 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm Comments are Disabled

    The stage was set for another incredible CAA matchup on Saturday afternoon.   The Patriot Center was filled to the brim as former and future Mason basketball players, students and fans piled into the arena for the finale for Homecoming: Where Magic Happens. Junior walk-on Jordan Baird nailed the National Anthem, igniting the crowd of 9.840 before the game began. Doc Nix and the Green Machine controlled the crowd throughout, prompting the Patriot Center noise meters to hover between 95 and 105 for a majority of the night. It was another matchup of No. 1 against No. 1 – the Patriots against the Monarchs. It was another matchup of Kent Bazemore, Preseason CAA Player of the Year, and Ryan Pearson, the likely favorite for Postseason Player of the Year honors. And, for the second time this season, Pearson got the edge. “That’s the role of a leader,” Bazemore said of Pearson. “You’re not going to have your best night every night but, if your teammates believe in you enough, you can still be that force. That’s what good players do in this league.” Despite his inability to knock down jumpshots, Pearson willed his way to another double-double performance. He finished […]

  • by John Powell

    Baird Delivers Flawless Anthem

    Sports February 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm Comments are Disabled

    With almost 9,800 pairs of eyes pointed his way, Jordan Baird, junior music major and walk-on for George Mason University’s basketball team, opened the Homecoming game with the national anthem. Baird first started singing before kindergarten, taking after his mother and older brother. Basketball was another inherited talent; Baird’s father and brother both played. He is the first in his family to play at the college level. After high school, Baird didn’t immediately follow up on his basketball career after a deal with Shenandoah University fell through. However, he did end up as a walk-on for the Mason team, which he calls a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “We know our place as walk-ons, but just because you know your place doesn’t mean you can’t strive for something more,” Baird said. “I’m always working hard in practice, and you never know when they might need us and might put us in, so you just have to keep on working hard. Overall it’s just been an awesome experience. The guys are great.” After landing a record deal last summer Baird released his single “Grateful.” When basketball season started, he had to choose between music and basketball. “Choosing between music and basketball was a decision […]