As an assistant coach with the George Mason women’s volleyball team, Dottie Porch has certainly tasted success in her four years with the Patriots. She’s been part of a staff that has seen the Patriots win a CAA title, Holly Goode named CAA Player of the Year, Goode and Kelsey Bohman earn AVCA All-Region honors and most recently, Lana Zonjic being named CAA Co-Rookie of the Year. But back in the late 1990s, it was Porch who was earning all the honors and all the recognition during a storied two-sport career at IPFW.
This past weekend, Porch was honored for all she did as a student-athlete when she was inducted in the IPFW Athletics Hall of Fame. Porch, who graduated from IPFW in 1998, was twice named IPFW Female Athlete of the Year. She was named first-team All-GLVC in volleyball and was the conference’ s player of the year as a 1997, the same season she was an AVCA D-II All-American. She also played basketball for three seasons, the sport she was originally recruited in.
“I was extremely shocked and excited, humbled,” Porch said. “I think it’s a great, great honor and I was happy that they chose me. I never thought about the Hall of Fame. I played sports because I loved it. I just happened to be OK at it.”
She was more than OK as Porch led her volleyball squad to two conference titles while also being a major contributor on the basketball team. “At the time, IPFW was a Division II school with not a lot of buildings on campus and not a lot of sports,” Porch said. “We were always together with other athletes and had the kind of camaraderie and friendships and support system around that always made it fun.”
For Porch, her path to success was simple and clear. “As a student-athlete I was dedicated and driven and I worked hard for everything I accomplished. My Mom had four kids and was alone so she had to work hard to bust her butt so I had to work hard to bust my butt.”
That work ethic is, in Porch’s mind, the most important thing she tries to impart to her players.
“Working hard can take you further than the court,” Porch said. “Most of my lessons that I learned on the court I can relate to my life. I have to have good time management and make sure I am organized and approach people differently. I can’t have a blanket way of communicating. Respecting the fact that competition is there and is real. You have to respect your opponents. And that every day, when I step on the court, I have to work hard.”
The stakes are high this weekend at the RAC as the George Mason women’s volleyball team looks to lock up a spot in the CAA Tournament with matches against Hofstra and Northeastern. It’s also Senior Weekend and Mason senior Holly Goode took some time this week to share her thoughts about the weekend ahead. See you at the RAC!
This weekend is a HUGE weekend. Since we lost our game this past weekend against Georgia State, we are in a 4-way tie with Northeastern, JMU, and Georgia State for 3rd place. Depending on this weekend coming up, anyone could be going to the conference tournament. It is Fernanda and my senior weekend and we want to make sure that we go out with a bang. We know we have a target on our back because of our winning the conference tournament last year and the team knows this. Coming out with as much energy and excitement as possible is going to make this weekend unforgettable. Also, senior night Saturday will be an emotional and determining night for the rest of the season. The team is ready to step up to the challenge and having all our fans there will help bring the energy up as well as the competitiveness.
Two weekends left of regular season competition and the George Mason women’s volleyball team is still in the thick of the race to the four-team CAA Championship. Senior Fernanda Bartels gives her impressions of last weekend’s split and the road ahead:
Last weekend, we hit both extremes. We played one of the best matches of the season, and one of the worst. On Friday, we didn’t start the match as strong as we needed. We struggled to find our game against Towson, and fought to find consistency on the court. We dropped the first two sets, and put ourselves in a bad situation. We fought back to take the match to five sets, and ended up winning the match. Even though we didn’t play well and had too many ups and downs throughout the match, we were able to pull off the victory.
I think we got that all the ‘bad playing’ out of our system on Friday. On Saturday, we looked like a completely different team than the night before. We were spirited and competitive. We were ready to play. We were ready to beat Delaware. The match went back-and-forth; Delaware took the first set, we took the second. They took the third, we took the fourth. It was our best match so far. Unfortunately, Delaware took the fifth set, affirming their position as number one seed in the conference.
Before dropping that match to Delaware, we had a shot at hosting the tournament. With the win, Delaware is likely the host of the tournament. That’s the one thing that upsets me the most about Saturday night. Hosting was one of the goals for this season; we wanted to bring the CAA tournament to the RAC.
As we reach the last two weeks of the regular season, every team is trying to do their best to stay in the top four teams, and guarantee their spot in the tournament. We are in the same situation; we have to win the next four matches to have a chance in the Championship. We still have to play Georgia State and Northeastern; teams that only have four losses and are fighting for a spot at the tournament.
We have a long weekend ahead of us. We’re on the road this weekend. We play UNC Wilmington on Friday and Georgia State on Sunday. We have to finish the regular season strong, in order to be ready for the CAA tournament.
Senior Fernanda Bartels checks in with this week’s women’s volleyball player blog, discussing the weekend ahead and looking forward to the final stretch of the regular season.
Every team looks forward to playing the top team on the conference. It is a mix of fear, excitement, and anxiety. Everyone wants to beat the favorite or the defending champion. For some teams, beating that team is like winning the championship match.
Delaware has been that team for the best three years. Delaware has been the team to fear. Some teams couldn’t perform against Delaware, other teams played like they had nothing to lose.
I remember going to their gym, and walking down the hallway. I remember seeing their 2007 and 2008 CAA Championship trophies. It was quite intimidating.
It’s time to visit Delaware’s gym again, and see their trophies. I still have the same respect for Delaware that I did before. Along with VCU, Delaware might be our biggest competition this season. The last time we saw them was during the 2009 CAA Championship. We beat them in five sets – a game that many of us will always remember. After that match, we knew we were going to win the conference.
We play Towson on Friday and Delaware on Saturday. With the loss from last week, our record is now 6-2. We are now tied for third with James Madison. Delaware is first at 7-1, followed by VCU with a 7-2 record.
This weekend is important to put us back on the winning track, and establish ourselves as one of the top teams. Bringing home two wins is important not only for our standing in the conference, but also for our confidence.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the fall sports seasons are slowly coming to a close and that means it’s time to take a look at the postseason picture for all of Mason’s teams.
Let’s start by taking a look at the women’s soccer team. This Friday at 2 p.m., the Patriots will play at Towson and Mason is in the driver’s seat for a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. Currently tied for third, a win or a tie will put Mason into the four-team tournament. Mason (10-7-1, 6-4-0) will look for its seventh-straight win over Towson (6-10-3, 2-7-1), a team that has not beaten Mason since Diane Drake took over as head coach prior to the 2004 season. GoMason.com will have a live blog of all the action from Towson on Friday.
Next up are the cross country teams. The CAA Championships will be contested on Saturday at Wilmington, N.C. Last year the men’s team finished second paced by Everett Hackett, who was second, Sam Horn, who was tenth, and Scott Tekesky, who was 12th. Both Hackett and Tekesky return this season. Last year, the women were third, with Rochelle Sceats finishing fifth and Laura Sinclair finishing tenth. Both are back and running well, especially Sinclair who has twice been named CAA Runner of the Week.
The men’s soccer team has three matches remaining and they currently sit in a three-way tie for fifth, just two points behind three teams tied for second. Mason’s remaining matches come against Hofstra, also tied for fifth, and Georgia State and UNC Wilmington, both tied for second. It would be an understatement to say that the remaining matches are meaningful. The good news is, the Patriots control their own ability to get to the postseason. Three wins and they will, at worst, finish third. There are plenty of other combinations as well that will get them into the CAA Tournament, which they last won in 2008. Hofstra and VCU (which is also in second place) still have to play first-place William & Mary as does UNCW which finishes with three straight road matches. The Patriots have never needed fan support more than they do in their two remaining home games – Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. The Patriots are currently second in the conference in average home attendance.
Finally, there’s the DEFENDING CAA CHAMPION WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM. The Patriots, who are the DEFENDING CAA CHAMPIONS are tied for third with James Madison, with which they split their two matches this year. The Patriots, who are the DEFENDING CAA CHAMPIONS, trail second-place VCU by a half game but Mason lost its only meeting this year with the Rams. The DEFENDING CAA CHAMPION Patriots have matches remaining with first-place Delaware, which they will only face once this year, fifth-place Northeastern and Georgia State, and Hofstra, Towson and UNCW, three teams that are a combined 4-22 in conference play.
GoMason.com and the GoMason Blog will keep you up to date on the postseason picture for all of Mason’s sports.
The George Mason women’s volleyball team dropped its first conference match of the season this past weekend, but the Patriots still lead the Colonial Athletic Association and are poised to stay atop the standings with a match at James Madison this Saturday. Senior Fernanda Bartels returns to the GoMason Blog to give her thoughts on the past weekend and the season ahead:
Last weekend was a tough weekend. We lost our first conference match against VCU in five sets. It was a good game, but it wasn’t enough. Parts of the match reminded me of the championship match last year. When we heard them cheering on the walk to their locker room in between sets, we knew we had faced that situation before. We fought hard to come back on the third and fourth sets. Unfortunately, the outcome of the match was not the same as last year’s.
The loss gave us a great opportunity to rethink about our game, our strengths and weaknesses. With the loss, we learned more about ourselves than we did in any other match. It was the first time that we had our backs against the wall, and we were forced to deal with a situation that is fairly new for this season.
This is the kind of match we want to play, a match where the opponent challenges us. Matches in which we would do anything to not let the ball drop, that take our breath away, that inspire the crowd. Those are the matches we’ve been waiting for. And I can’t wait to play VCU again.
After a loss, we just have to pick ourselves up, keep our heads in the right place, and move on. That’s the way volleyball is, that’s the way life is. After one ball, there is another ball coming; and another one after that. There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves, or find excuses. Shake it off, next play. That is the nature of the game. Also, in the way the conference is set up, there is no time to overthink a loss. We have to get ready for James Madison, who is hungry for conference wins.
This weekend, we play JMU this Saturday at their gym. Next weekend, we face Delaware and Towson. I’m looking forward to playing Delaware! They only have one loss, and that match will be important to define the number one seed in the conference. After Delaware and Towson, we are going to Georgia State and UNC Wilmington for our last road trip of the season. Then we are finally back at Mason for our final matches of the regular season against Northeastern and Hofstra.
One month left, and a lot of work to do.
Short of Homecoming, you can’t get a bigger weekend for Mason Athletics than this one.
Let’s start with the obvious. Tonight is Mason Madness, when fans get their first look at the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Doors open at 9 p.m., activities begin at 9:30 p.m. The GoMason Blog is hyped for the dunk contest. Can’t WAIT to see what Ryan Pearson, Mike Morrison and Andre Cornelius pull out this season. In case you don’t remember, last year, along with Kevin Foster (who has since transferred), they were Green Lantern, Batman and Spiderman.
Check out 2:15 into this clip.
Check out GoMason.com as well as GoMason Blog tomorrow for highlights and interviews from Mason Madness.
Now on to competitions that actually COUNT in the standings.
The women’s volleyball team hosts a pair of matches this weekend, first taking on William & Mary tonight and then hosting VCU on Saturday (both matches at 7 p.m.). The Patriots are 5-0 on the year while William & Mary is 2-3 and VCU is 3-2. Saturday is a very big match as not only is it the Dig Pink match, it’s also the first time these teams have faced since Mason ripped the hopes of a CAA title out of VCU’s hands. The Rams hosted the conference tournament last year as the No. 1 seed and had beaten Mason during the regular season. The Patriots promptly crushed their dreams to earn the conference’s at-large berth into the CAA Tournament.
The cross country teams head north this weekend as the men’s team competes at Penn State while the women are running at Princeton. The swimming and diving teams will take on both James Madison and Delaware in a tri-meet in Newark, Del.
Tomorrow night the men’s soccer team will host James Madison looking to build off the momentum from Wednesday’s win at Towson. It was a dramatic victory for the Patriots who hadn’t beaten the Tigers since 2004. The Patriots are just four points out of fourth place right now with six matches to play. Mason has already played three of the top five teams in the current conference standings, so things should get a little easier from here on out. Of course that is all relative, as six CAA teams are ranked in the top 41 in the RPI, including the Dukes.
But of all the events this weekend, few are as important as the women’s soccer matches against UNC Wilmington and Georgia State. The Patriots host those schools and they can smell the CAA Tournament. First off, let’s all agree that it’s highly unlikely the CAA Tournament won’t go through Hofstra. The Pride have won 12 straight and are 6-0 n the conference. That leaves three spots left in the tournament and seven teams have legitimate shots at making it. In second place is Georgia State. The Patriots will host the Panthers (4-1-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m as part of Senior Day. Before they get to GSU, Mason will take on UNCW tonight at 6 p.m. The Seahawks and Patriots are both 4-2-0 in the conference, tied for third, just one point behind GSU. James Madison is tied with Mason and UNCW while William & Mary (3-2-1), Northeastern (2-3-1) and Towson (2-3-1) lurk behind. Come Sunday afternoon, the CAA postseason picture could become a lot more clear, or a lot more murky.
“One player who would love to end her Mason career with a trip to the CAA Tournament is Capricia Alston. As a freshman, she went to the tournament when Mason traveled to James Madison and lost in the opening round, 2-1. She is one of three current Mason women’s soccer players to taste the postseason. Here is her blog entry on this weekend as the Patriots say farewell to their seniors.
“This weekend is probably one of the biggest weekends for our team thus far. We play UNCW, tied for third place with us and JMU, and Georgia State, ranked second. This weekend is not only a strong indicator for what teams will continue into the conference tournament, but more importantly it will also test our character. Recently suffering a 5-0 loss against a Hofstra team that was undefeated in conference, we left Long Island with our heads hung low. We are aware that when we bring our full potential we are a tremendous threat, and when we don’t, that kind of score is the result. The hanging question for us now is can we pull it together and consistently bring that potential to our last five games, starting with Friday. I think we can, and I know I am not alone.
“For four of us (Omolyn Davis, Evan Feldman, Kimmy Moss and myself), this weekend holds an even more special place in our hearts. As seniors, these are our last home games EVER, and with family members and coaches coming from locations as far as Jamaica and California, I am positive that we want nothing more than to leave our beloved field with a bang. After a hard week of competitive practices and shooting drills, I think the entire team feels that way as well. We all realize how important these two games are for our season, and we are determined to prove this one game at a time.
“Last year we disappointedly fell short against both teams, with both matches resulting in ties. We were disappointed with not only the results, but also our performance. Knowing this, we do not intend on letting this occur again. It is coming down to crunch time and I believe that we are capable of taking on the challenge. We are out for blood, and what better time to go hunting than our last couple of opportunities in our own territory?
“We just have to remember one thing, and it’s this – “we’re gonna bring that blood and pain,” and we’re going to bring it TOGETHER starting Friday!”