ShaLi Niu's Career Night Lifts Mason to a Comeback Victory
After falling behind 2-0 in the match, the Patriots took the final three sets to defeat Duquesne on Friday night.
Freshman ShaLi Niu posted a career-high 28 kills for a .385 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Emily Konchan recorded her second career 50-plus assist game with 55. The setter also notched a double-double with 14 digs.
FINAL: Mason 3, Duquesne 2 (PDF Box Score) Niu – 28 kills; Konhcan – 55 assists; Catie Espinoza – 31 digs Pittsburgh – George Mason University women's volleyball battled back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Duquesne in five sets on Friday night. This is the first time since 2016 that Mason came back from a 2-0 deficit to claim the victory (Sept. 10 vs. Bucknell). The Patriots earned its first away victory of the season. Mason improves to 5-3 in conference play for an overall record of 7-11. Duquesne drops to 9-12 overall and 3-5 in the Atlantic 10. "It was one of the best wins I have ever been a part of and I can't say enough of how proud I am of the team tonight," said head coach Aylene Ilkson. "Every single one of them fought so hard for this win." In the opening set, Duquesne jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Mason responded and scored eight-straight points behind Niu's serving. The opposite hitter tallied three service aces during the run. The two teams exchanged points until Mason cut Duquesne's lead to one, 19-18. Ultimately, the Patriots were never able to take the lead, leading to the Dukes taking the first 25-22. Duquesne started strong for the second-straight set, taking a 7-1 lead. The Patriots cut the Dukes' lead to two after a block by Peyton Ehmke and Bailey Williams. Mason went on a 4-0 run for a score of 23-20, in favor of Duquesne. Although Mason threatened to take the set, Duquesne claimed the final two points – winning the set 25-20. Mason found its rhythm to start the third set, jumping out to an 8-3 lead. During the run, Niu tallied three-straight kills. A four-point run by Mason gave the team its largest lead of the set, 22-12. The Dukes went on a late 6-0 run to cut the Patriots' lead to three. Niu was able to seal the set victory with a kill – 25-21. Unlike the previous three sets, no team jumped out to a large lead as both programs exchanged points early on. Mason then scored five-straight points to take a 12-6 advantage. Late in the set, Duquesne went on a four-point run to cut Mason's lead to two. Ultimately, the fourth set went in Mason's favor – 25-21. After finding themselves down 8-3 to start the fifth set, the Patriots tabbed back-to-back points to close in on the Dukes' lead. Mason took its first lead of the set 11-10. In a five-set thriller, it was only fitting the final set was decided in extra points. The Patriots claimed the victory – winning the set 18-16. NOTABLE STATS
Espinoza registered her third 30-plus dig match of the season with 31 digs. This is the second-straight match the libero has tallied 30 or more digs.
Junior Katrina Santos had her second highest hitting percentage of the season with .400. The middle blocker contributed 11 kills.
Williams recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 10 kills and 17 digs.
UP NEXT The Patriots take on the La Salle Explorers at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Tom Gola Arena.