The Smith Center was home sweet home for the GW women’s volleyball team last week.
The Colonial women returned home from their six-game road trip to post wins over LaSalle and George Mason universities and pushed league-leading Temple to a match point.
Temple 3, GW 2
With game faces on, GW fought against Temple Saturday in one of its best displays of defensive play, aggressive blocking and phenomenal digs.
“It was our opportunity to bump off the number one team in the conference,” head coach Susie Homan said. “I felt completely confident all week that we could push them at least to the limit and win the match.”
Losing 15-10 in game one, GW came back with a 15-10 game two win. In game three, GW was out of sync and committed several errors, which led to a 15-5 loss. Refocused in a must-win game four, GW pulled through with a 15-11 victory, sparked by Julie Jahnke’s three consecutive blocks.
“That created a lot of excitement and momentum for us to take into the fifth game,” Homan said.
In a rally scoring situation, GW kept up with Temple to the end. However, Temple won the decisive game 16-14 when the Colonial women let a ball go that was called in, sending the already tense crowd into shock.
“It’s just really hard to take a loss when you fight that hard and when it ends on a pretty controversial call,” Homan said.
GW 3, LaSalle 0
Shirts were twirled, chests were bare and ’80s prom dresses were floating around in the Smith Center Halloween night.
With the men’s swimming team taking off an article of clothing for every point scored by GW, and alumnae of the volleyball team parading around as beauty queens, the atmosphere was light as the Colonial women easily swept the Explorers.
“It wasn’t a real high-intensity match, but I think we still stayed really focused and that was probably the most important aspect,” Homan said.
Completely dominating games one and two, GW won 15-2 and 15-3, hitting an impressive .478 in the first game.
GW jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game three, but LaSalle came back and took its only lead of the match at 8-7. Quickly getting back to business, GW won 15-11 on one of Crystal Akens’ team-high 12 kills.
Theresa Ridder was also a powerful offensive force, hitting .625 with 11 kills. Jill Levey hustled for 30 assists and 12 defensive digs.
GW 3, GMU 1
The spectators who came to get free T-shirts Wednesday for Nike Night got a chance to see their Colonial women break a five-game losing streak with a four-game win over George Mason.
“It just really feels like we haven’t been here for a long time,” Homan said after GW played its first home game in a month. “It was almost foreign playing in here.”
In game one, GW still was getting reacquainted with the Smith Center, and George Mason took advantage of GW’s errors, winning 15-6.
GW came out more focused in a competitive game two, which saw both teams playing well in spurts. Akens helped her team stay alive with several big kills to tie the game at 10-10.
Renee Arnold then executed a play exactly as planned for a kill to win the game 15-12, sending the crowd to its feet.
“That’s a real pressure situation because she hasn’t seen a lot of playing time and she did a great job,” Homan said.
Game three was also close with several lead changes, but GW pulled through with a 15-12 win.
The diehard fans cheered the Colonial women to a 15-8 game four victory, which clinched the match for GW.
Akens had an incredible match with 18 kills and 18 defensive digs.
“I told her after the match that this was the best overall performance I’ve seen her have in her career,” Homan said.