Mason Sports Roundup

Posted: November 13, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

In addition to men’s basketball action, reported yesterday, other Mason teams that competed in the past week were men’s cross country, soccer and wrestling; and women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Men’s Cross Country

Mason finished in 16th place in the team scoring with 432 points at the 2007 NCAA Southeast Regional Men’s Cross Country Championships, held at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park on Saturday in Louisville, Ky. Senior John Crain was the first Patriot to cross the finish line, clocking in with a time of 31:46.15 in the 10k race.

Also scoring in the championship race for Mason were sophomore Robert Krause, senior Kris Cruz, sophomore James Snyder and sophomore James Phillips. Krause finished 75th with a time of 32:00.70, Cruz finished 102nd with a time of 32:39.30, Snyder finished 104th with a time of 32:42.60 and Phillips finished 105th with a time of 32:43.25.

North Carolina State and Louisville earned the automatic bids to the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships by virtue of finishing as the top-two teams at the meet. North Carolina State placed first with 69 points, while Louisville finished a point behind the Wolfpack. Liberty senior Josh McDougal won the individual race with a time of 29:30.70.

The Patriots will race again on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the IC4A Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City.

Men’s Soccer

Mason played its final match of the 2007 men’s soccer season last Thursday against Towson at the Towson Center Soccer Complex in Towson, Md. The Patriots fell by a final score of 2-0 to close out their season with a 5-11-2 overall record and a 2-8-1 mark in Colonial Athletic Association matches.

The match remained scoreless until the 39th minute of play, when junior T.J. Jager scored his first goal of the season for Towson.

Towson, who improved to 10-7-1 overall and 7-4-0 in the CAA with the victory, scored its second goal of the match in the 84th minute.

Jeremy Jessup started his first match of the season in goal for the Patriots, tallying six saves in 90 minutes of action. Sophomore Sean Kelley, a 2007 Preseason All-CAA selection at goalkeeper, started 17 matches in his second year at Mason.

Thursday’s match closes out the careers of George Mason seniors Elon Backer, Brian Barry-Austin, Chris Chaves, Adam Lobene, Jordan Mault and Blake Roth.

After beginning the season with a 5-4-1 record following its 1-0 double-overtime victory at Delaware on Oct. 12, Mason had a tough end to the season, finishing without a win in its final eight matches.

Men’s Wrestling

Senior Randy Oates was dominant on his way to winning the 174-pound title at the Pembroke Classic on Saturday at the English E. Jones Center in Pembroke, N.C. In addition to Oates’ championship, freshmen Denny Herndon and Cayle Byers finished as the runners-up at their respective weight classes.

Oates scored two falls and a major decision on his way to the finals at 174 pounds. In the championship round, Oates took on top-seeded Trebor Clavette of Davidson. Clavette gave Oates his first real test of the tournament, but it wasn’t enough, as Oates prevailed with a close 8-7 win to take home the tournament title.

Herndon advanced to the championship bout at 125 pounds with four consecutive decisions, with the final two victories coming by a single point. In the finals, Herndon faced Newberry’s Matthew Oliver, who scored a 6-1 decision to take the title.

Byers earned three decisions on the road to the finals at 197 pounds. The freshman lost a hard-fought 3-2 decision to finish as the runner-up to Dan Tulley at the weight class. Byers has lived up to his advanced billing as a member of the Preseason CAA All-Freshman Team thus far, with a strong showing at the Pembroke Classic after winning the tournament title at the Citadel Open last weekend.

At 141 pounds, freshman Brandon Bucher advanced to the semifinals of the championship bracket before falling to top-seeded Tyler Anthony of VMI by a 4-2 decision. Bucher then dropped down to the consolation bracket, where he dropped his first match to third-seeded Michael Arias of the Citadel by a final score of 6-0. Bucher rebounded with a win over Duke’s Spencer Jasper, the second seed in the weight class, 7-3, to take fifth place.

The Patriots travel to Annapolis, Md., to compete at the Navy Classic, slated for Saturday, Nov. 17, at 9 a.m.

Women’s Basketball

Leading 13-12 with 9:19 remaining in the first half, the Mason women’s basketball team knew they could hang with one of the nation’s premier teams. However, the ninth-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs proved too much for the Patriots, and Georgia notched an 84-56 victory on Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Patriot offense was led by senior Lateisha Wade, the preseason All-CAA honorable mention selection who poured in 12 points. Freshman Brittany Eley scored nine points, while junior Jessica Smith led the Patriots off the glass with nine rebounds. Georgia’s offense was led by Tasha Humphrey, who scored 21 despite playing much of the second half with four fouls.

A strong defense effort by the Patriots surprised the Lady Bulldogs early on, as Mason let UGA’s lead grow no larger than five before the Mason lead took shape. Georgia answered right back, opening the game up as the first period came to a close.

The 11-point scoring run by the Lady Bulldogs to begin the second half provided more than enough cushion to ensure the win, but the Patriots continued fighting throughout the duration of the game, as every Mason player who dressed for the game saw action.

The Patriots return to action on Friday as they travel to Seton Hall for a two-day tournament against the host Pirates at 6 p.m., and either Toledo or San Diego the following day.

Women’s Soccer

The Mason women’s soccer team went on the road last Tuesday night, looking for an upset in the first round of the CAA Tournament as the sixth-seeded Patriots played at third-seeded James Madison. Unfortunately, the Patriots were unable to extend their season, and the Dukes took a 2-1 win over Mason.

Mason (8-10-2) was in the CAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 and faced the same opponent this year as they did then. In 2004, JMU took a 1-0 win over the Patriots. Sarah Fack, Alison Feldman, Laura Salichs and Rachel Wiggins were freshmen on that team, and L.J. Williams was a sophomore. For those five, along with Kasey Davenport, Tuesday’s loss marked the end of their Patriot career.

It took awhile for both teams to get into the flow. The Dukes (16-3-1) had a scoring chance early with a corner kick, while Mason had a direct kick from 35 yards several minutes later. Still, it wasn’t until the 26th minute that either team managed a shot. Annie Lowry’s shot on the goal resulted in a JMU corner kick. One minute later, Williams had a shot on goal that Stephanie Poucher stopped. At the end of the first half, Mason had three shots, two on goal, while JMU had one shot on goal.

It was the 60th minute that James Madison finally broke through. After Mason dominated much of the action early in the second stanza, the Dukes got possession in the midfield and Teresa Rynier went over top to Annie Lowry, who finally put one past Mason keeper Davenport.

The Dukes very nearly took a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later. This time Lowry sent the ball over the top to Corky Julien, but Davenport made a brilliant save, cutting the distance and stopping Julien’s shot at the source. James Madison did make it 2-0 in the 73rd minute. This time, Rynier played a ball deep on the left wing to Cate Tisinger. Tisinger’s cross was deflected by Davenport and Megan Deaver collected it and put it in the net.

The Patriots pulled to within one in the 80th minute as Kelly Keelan, Mason’s leader in goals, found herself deep on the left side. She crossed to Sasha Vido on the right side and she put the ball in the net for her second goal of the year. Mason was unable to get the equalizer in a dramatic final 10 minutes. The best chance came on a Jessica Paris shot from 20 yards out that went just high.

Women’s Volleyball

The Mason women’s volleyball team was assured of a berth in next week’s CAA Championship, but that did not stop the Patriots from giving Hofstra everything it had, ultimately falling short in a 3-2 (32-30, 26-30, 30-24, 30-22, 15-12) Pride victory on Saturday at the Field House.

Mason concluded the regular season with a 14-12 record, 7-7 in the CAA. By virtue of head-to-head tiebreakers against JMU, the Patriots will be seeded sixth in next weekend’s conference championship, hosted by top seed Delaware. Mason will get a shot at redemption against the Pride, as Hofstra (17-11, 9-5) earned the No. 3 seed with their win against the Patriots. The two teams will do battle at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

Sophomore Rebecca Walter matched a career best with her game-high 24 kills, while senior Jaqueline Kohler, in her final home match in the Green and Gold, nearly equaled her with 22 kills. Junior Chelsea Kropp recorded 17 digs, smashing a previous career high. Freshman Fernanda Bartels continued to perform well with 62 assists. Hofstra’s attack was led by Lauren Engle, who notched 21 kills.

Although Mason was out-hit by a .232-to-.184 margin, the Patriots remained close throughout the match, forcing five games for the fifth time this season. Hofstra led by no more than five in the first game, but opened the second stanza with a 9-1 run. Undeterred, Mason fought back to level the game at 16-16, then took the lead at 24-23 and never looked back.

In the third game, the two teams remained even for most of the time, until the Pride was able to break free and take a 2-1 games advantage. However, in the fourth game it was the Patriots who began with a scoring run, scoring 10 of the first 13 points out of the gate and ultimately holding on to tie the match. In the match-deciding game, the Pride never trailed despite Mason moving within one point often as Hofstra took the match victory.

The match was the final regular season contest for Kohler and two other seniors, Kristen Byler and Melissa Kryfka, who were honored prior to the start of the match.

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