Picking who to root for Friday night at the volleyball game between GW and Duquesne was an easy decision for most of the Smith Center crowd. After all, it was a home game for the Colonials, their second this season against an Atlantic 10 opponent.
But for Rose Goss, mother of GW freshman Rachael Goss and Duquesne senior Katie Goss, the game was "nerve-racking."
"I've been sitting on my hands the whole game because I didn't know who to cheer for, how to bring desserts for both teams. That was kind of hard," she said.
The post-game desserts - cupcakes for the Dukes and chocolate chip cookies for the Colonials - were highlights of an otherwise disappointing game for GW, which dropped the final three sets to Duquesne after going up 2-0 early in the best of five games contest. The loss was especially disappointing for Rachael, who, after three years of visiting her older sister at Duquesne, finally got to play her and her teammates on the court.
"I felt like I had something to prove, because I've been on campus at Duquesne, visiting her friends, and they all know me by name," Rachael said. "It wasn't just competition with Katie, it was the whole team, because I do know them."
Both sisters said they welcomed the chance to face off against each other, more out of happiness to see one another than any sense of sibling rivalry. If anything, Katie said, the mood was a little bit too friendly.
"I definitely think it's fun, just because we're both competitive," she said. "We don't take things seriously. Before the game even started, before warm-ups, she came in our locker room and was talking to me. I was like, 'Rachael, you can't do this. Get out.'"
Once the game started, though, the competitive side of the sibling relationship shone through. With her sister watching from the sidelines and her mom in the stands, Rachael was a force both offensively and defensively for the Colonials. She placed second on the team in kills with 14 and third in digs with 15, a career high for her.
"Whatever they do at home, we play a lot of sports, because their brother plays sports," their mother said. "If it's playing wiffle ball in the backyard, kickball, basketball, they're very competitive. It's a knock-down, drag-out fight."
The game also served as somewhat of an impromptu family gathering for the Goss family, only intensifying the competition between the sisters for the affection of their familial fan section.
"I was like 'Mom, who you gonna cheer for tonight?' and she was like, 'I'm unbiased, I cheer for both my daughters,' and I was like, 'Mom, come on, I'm playing, cheer for me,'" Rachael said. "Our family supports both sisters. It was just nice for them to come, it's like a little family reunion."
Once the game ended and their respective teams had finished meeting, the sisters met in the Smith Center stands, catching up with family and enjoying their mom's post-game desserts, Katie's smile just a bit wider than her sister's.
"There's always something to lose," Rachael said, laughing. "I know she's gonna text me and send something smart, like 'Haha, we won.' It's just more to lose. This meant more to me than any other game."