Lizzie Kane ‘22
Georgia native, six feet two inches, jersey number 13, captain her junior and senior years, Mason Rooney ’19 is a major contributor to Davidson’s Division 1 (D1) volleyball team.
Rooney started playing volleyball in eighth grade, joining a club team that same year. Her positions are setter and right side; as a setter, she hits the ball in place for her teammates to get it over the net. She likes “being able to put [hitters] in a great space and opportunity to score because when you do, you get to celebrate them, which is always the best.”
Rooney chose Davidson because she wanted a Southeastern state, D1 athletics, small class sizes, and “a degree that meant something.” She said, “When I visited here for the first time, it just felt like home.”
The team is 12-10 overall, and 5-6 in-conference. Rooney stands out of the pack with six aces and four blocks against N.C. Central this year. There are many young players on the team, six first-years, and many veterans, like Rooney, as well. “I think that the future of the Davidson volleyball program is only moving upwards, which is exciting,” Rooney said.
On Friday, September 21st, Davidson beat Duquesne for the first time in conference history. Additionally, Rooney shared excitement about Senior Weekend on October 28th, despite the loss to Dayton.
When asked about how she handles a tough loss, Rooney said, “I think the nice part about our conference is that we get to play on Friday and Sunday, so if you have a tough loss on Friday, you get to compete again on Sunday. If [a loss] happens on Sunday, you are right back in the gym on Monday, competing against your teammates.” While the team always has new games to focus on, “it is easy to bounce back when the team and the girls around you are awesome,” she said.
Rooney elaborated by talking about how the best part of being on the team is the support that comes with it. “It’s nice—especially in college when you are not at home anymore—to have girls that feel like family to you and make you feel at home.” She also mentioned the team’s tradition of “Thursday Night Commons” before their games on Fridays.
Coaches and teammates speak highly of Rooney. “[Rooney] is a fearless leader on the court and extremely committed to her teammates off the court,” Captain Josie Treadwell ’20 said. “She’s shown the classes below her what it looks like to be a loyal friend and passionate player.”
“On the court, [Rooney] is an offensive threat at all times,” Assistant Coach Brian Rosen added. “She is able to score points for our team as an attacker, server, and blocker. [Rooney’s] role as a setter allows her to put teammates in position to score as well. She leads the NCAA in triple-doubles, which is one of the toughest stats to achieve. It is a true test of versatility in the game of volleyball.”
Head Coach Chris Willis also noted that Rooney is currently ranked in the top 10 in the A-10 for three categories; she is third in aces/set, sixth in hitting percentage, and seventh in points/set.
Rosen continued to emphasize her buoyant personality. “As a captain, she drives the energy bus for our team. Her celebrations when we score a point are contagious and often lead to long runs of points,” he said. “[Rooney’s] positions and role on the team come with a lot of pressure, but she handles it all with so much poise. She, along with our other seniors, is always someone that our team can look to.”
“[Rooney] is an incredible person who embodies the Davidson purpose of humane instincts and a disciplined and creative mind,” Willis said. “We love having her as a force on the court, and more so, value her ability to set the example of what it means to be a true scholar-athlete.”
It is clear that Rooney loves the sport and that her presence will be missed next year. However, the team still has a long road ahead to make the A-10 tournament with their star setter. While Davidson has yet to even make the tournament, Rooney is already shooting for the gold. “Why not reach for what the top is?” Rooney said.