Once near the top of the Atlantic 10, GW stands in the middle of the pack after losing ground in two weekend losses.
The Colonial women were outmatched in three games against Rhode Island Saturday after being upset Friday in a five-game contest by a Massachusetts squad with a record under .500.
“The conference is stronger from top to bottom this year,” GW head coach Susie Homan said. “We know everything is on the line.”
GW’s overall record fell to 8-6, 3-3 in the A-10.
The Colonial women will attempt to bounce back Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they visit George Mason University in their final non-conference match of the season. GW returns to A-10 play against defending A-10 champion Temple in Philadelphia Friday at 5 p.m.
URI 3, GW 0
The Colonial women were defeated in a three-game sweep by Rhode Island at the Smith Center Saturday.
GW had a difficult time controlling the barrage of attacks from an experienced URI club that finished second in the A-10 East Division last season.
The final game of the match went back and forth. GW sophomore Renee Arnold tallied some of her team-high nine kills in the game to keep the Colonial women close. But the Rams’ Angela McHenry provided several of her match-high 17 kills and 19 defensive digs to end GW’s bid for a comeback as URI won the finale 15-10.
“We have to compete at a higher level,” Homan said. “We need to play from start to finish.”
GW made adjustments in the second game but came out on the short end, losing 19-17. The Colonial women led 7-0 behind strong serving by sophomore Jill Levey, who led GW with three aces and 20 assists for the match.
But the Colonial women failed to regain serve and fell victim to a URI run. GW was ahead 12-8, but the Rams (10-2, 4-2 A-10) battled back and both teams exchanged points down the stretch. URI’s victory in game two was a demoralizing loss for GW and made a possible comeback unlikely.
“We have a tendency to get very discouraged,” Homan said. “We have to recommit to playing as hard as we can.”
URI took control of the match from the beginning, dominating GW 15-5 in game one. Freshman Amy Knebel tallied several of her match-high 17 kills in game one. GW stayed close early in the first game behind solid play by junior Gabriela Mojska, but URI went on a six-point run to end the game. URI recorded 60 total kills to GW’s 35 for the match.
UMass 3, GW 2
In GW’s longest conference match of the season, the Colonial women fell short in a five-game contest against UMass Friday at the Smith Center.
The match was close throughout, including an exciting 15-13 final game. Despite a higher attack percentage and more kills in the match, GW committed eight more errors and lost several crucial rallies in the end to fall to the younger UMass team.
In the final game, GW maintained a 12-9 lead but dropped six of the final seven points and the match.
“It was a very disappointing loss because we lost the lead at home,” Homan said.
The Colonial women jumped out to an early lead in the first game with the help of sophomores Julie Jahnke and Renee Arnold. The two combined for 27 kills for the match and played well early in the first game. But GW lost some important sideouts late in the game, allowing UMass a chance to recover. Led by junior Jill Meyers, who had 21 kills and only four errors for the match, the Minutewomen jumped ahead of GW, 13-10. The Colonial women cut the deficit to 13-12, but UMass pulled away for the 15-12 victory.
“We need to work on not dropping games,” senior Tai Bethune said. “We need to focus on each game.”
Bethune picked up her game, leading the Colonial women to an easy victory in the second game. Bethune had many of her team-high 19 kills in the game, providing GW with a 15-4 victory.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Bethune said. “It was a good team effort.”
The third game was disappointing and poorly executed for GW. The Colonial women’s team attack percentage of -.185 gave the Minutewomen (6-8, 3-2 A-10) an easy 15-5 win.
GW dominated game four, winning 15-5. Mojska continued her recent impressive play, recording several fourth-game kills. Her attack percentage of .379 was just behind Bethune’s team-high percentage of .429.