Mason Sports Roundup

Posted: November 6, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Men’s and women’s cross country, soccer and swimming and diving, as well as men’s wrestling, and women’s basketball — with their opening exhibition game — and volleyball teams have seen recent action.

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

The Mason men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Earlysville, Va., to compete in the Cavalier Open at Panorama Farms on Saturday morning. A pair of freshmen ran the top times for both teams. Phillip Mlinarcik was the top finisher for the men, while Samantha Fickel crossed the finish line first for the women’s team.

Mlinarcik finished in 24th place in the men’s 8k race with a time of 26:48.79 to pace the Patriots. Kevin Tschirhart of host University of Virginia won the men’s race with a time of 24:41.67. Three Cavaliers placed in the top 10 at the meet. Virginia was matched by CAA Champion William & Mary, which also had three athletes finish in the top 10.

Fickel ran a time of 20:29.71 to finish in 30th place in the women’s 5k run. Brooks’ Dawn Cromer finished in first place with a time of 18:05.53. The Tribe dominated the women’s race, with 10 athletes finishing in the top 13 at the meet.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams go to the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, held at Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving

A pair of dual victories against Drexel and a win on the men’s side over William & Mary rounded out the Mason swimming and diving teams’ weekend at the 2007 CAA Pod Meet, which concluded Saturday at the Aquatic and Fitness Center.

The Mason men earned a 188-161 victory against Drexel, and defeated the William & Mary Tribe with a close 178-179 win. On the women’s side, the Patriots soundly beat the Dragons, 237-115, and fell to the Tribe, 212-141. Mason’s dual record improves to 2-1 for the men and 1-2 for the women.

Three Patriots recorded individual victories on Saturday, with senior Sarah Bizer winning in the 100-yard butterfly and sophomores Ryan David and Eric Knight grabbing wins in the 200-yard individual medley and breaststroke events, respectively. The Patriot women’s 200-yard medley relay squad of sophomore Jessica Jacoby, sophomore Mary Beth Cheslock, Bizer and freshman Katie Planchak took home first place as well.

Mason returns to action in two weekends when it hosts the 2007 Patriot Invitational at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. The event will take place from Friday, Nov. 16, to Sunday, Nov. 18.

Men’s Soccer

The Hofstra Pride took a 3-0 win over Mason in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) men’s soccer action on Sunday afternoon at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

With the loss, George Mason falls to 5-10-2 overall and 2-7-1 in the CAA. The Patriots are winless in their past seven matches, with the team’s last victory coming on Oct. 12 at Delaware.

Sophomore midfielder Richard Edgar led Mason with four shots in the match, including the Patriots lone shot on goal off of a header that was saved by the Hofstra goalkeeper. Sophomore Sean Kelley and redshirt junior Jeremy Jessup split time in goal for Mason, with each making one save.

Mason will attempt to end its season on a winning note when it travels to Towson, Md., to take on the Towson Tigers in the final match of the season on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 3 p.m.

Men’s Wrestling

The Mason wrestling team wrapped up its first weekend of competition of the 2007-08 season by taking the individual titles at two weight classes at the Citadel Open at McAlister Field House in Charleston, S.C.

Freshman Cayle Byers won the 197-pound weight class with an 8-2 decision over North Carolina State’s Mark Jahad in the championship bout. Byers reached the final match with a 9-3 victory over Danny Fernandez of the University of Central Florida in the quarterfinals and a 3-2 decision over Duke’s Robert Holbrook in the semifinals.

Another Mason freshman, Frankie McLaughlin, won the championship bout at the 157-pound weight class with a close 6-5 decision over Duke’s Jared Sernoffsky. McLaughlin’s road to the final match included victories over Spartanburg Methodist College’s Jeff Slaven in the first round, Central Florida’s Ryan Witzel in the quarterfinals and Spartanburg Methodist’s J.J. Jackson in the semifinals.

Both Andrew Rock and Bill Widener also fared well at the tournament for Mason. Rock finished fourth at the 165-pound weight class, while Widener placed fourth at 184 pounds.

The Patriots wrestle again on Saturday, Nov. 10, when they travel to Pembroke, N.C. for the Pembroke Open.

Women’s Basketball

The Mason women’s basketball team overcame a seven-point deficit in the second half and was able to hold off Wilmington University, 64-62, in exhibition action on Monday evening at the Patriot Center.

The Patriots were led by sophomore guard Rashauna Hobbs, who scored 17 points, including a game-high four three-pointers, to pace the Mason offense. Joining Hobbs in double figures was senior forward Moni Akintunde, who chipped in 13. The Wildcat offense was led by Amelia Simmons, who recorded 18 points along with a game-high nine rebounds.

Mason, despite being out-shot by a 54.8-to-41.1 percent margin, used a 7-2 run in the middle stages of the second half to close the gap, culminating with Akintunde’s layup to knot the game at 48. The Patriots jumped out to a lead as large as four following that, but the Wildcats were able to tie the game up at 59-59 with just over a minute remaining. Five unanswered free throws by the Patriots within 59 seconds allowed Mason to seal the victory, as the three-pointer by Nordia Henry at the buzzer was not enough.

Five Patriots made their debut in the Green and Gold on the evening, led by freshman Brittany Poindexter’s seven points and seven rebounds in her first collegiate action.

Mason officially opens the 2007-08 regular season this weekend when it faces the #9/10 Georgia Lady Bulldogs in Athens. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Women’s Soccer

The Mason women’s soccer team needed a win on Senior Night last Thursday to keep its hopes for making the CAA Tournament alive, and the seniors stepped up to the challenge with a big assist from the underclassmen as the Patriots downed Towson 3-0 at George Mason Stadium.

The Patriots got good news just before the match when they found out that Georgia State failed to win its match at UNC Wilmington. That left the door open for Mason, which needed a victory and a William & Mary win or tie against Old Dominion to earn the final spot in the CAA Tournament.

The Patriots took care of business in the first eight minutes, and about an hour after the match, so did William & Mary. Mason clinched a spot in the CAA Tournament and will play at James Madison on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.

The first goal came three minutes into the match. Sophomore Kelly Keelan, the reigning CAA Player of the Week, passed the ball to senior Rachel Wiggins into the box. Wiggins took a shot which was blocked, but she collected the rebound and scored her fourth goal of the season. It was the 21st goal of Wiggins’s career and the 58th point. Both totals put her among the all-time top 10 at Mason.

A little more than four minutes later, the Patriots (8-9-1, 4-6-1) made it 2-0 by scoring off a corner kick. Keelan took the shot from the right corner, and she found senior Laura Salichs’ head at the near post. Salichs put the ball in for her first goal of the season and the fourth of her career.

In the 22nd minute, Mason iced the game when Keelan played a ball over the top to junior Jessica Paris, who dribbled 30 yards before beating the goalkeeper for her third goal of the year.

Women’s Volleyball

Unable to establish a consistent attack, the Mason women’s volleyball team fell to conference leader Delaware, 3-0 (30-20, 30-21, 30-8), on Saturday evening in CAA action at Viera Court.

Mason (14-10, 7-5 CAA) entered the weekend on a season-long four-match win streak, but was unable to bounce back from its heartbreaking five-game loss on Friday at Towson.

The Patriot offense was led by senior Jaqueline Kohler, who notched eight kills.

Although Delaware dominated much of the match, the Patriots held its largest lead of the day when it led 8-3 in the second game. However, from there the Blue Hen offense, which controlled the first game as well, mounted a comeback and ultimately took the lead.

Mason returns home for its final action of the 2007 regular season when it hosts Northeastern and Hofstra at the Field House on Friday and Saturday.

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