PHILADELPHIA – The GW women’s volleyball team showed signs of tremendous ability during its weekend split of two games in Philadelphia but at other times showed a lack of focus and intensity.
GW was dominated from start to finish against defending Atlantic 10 champion Temple Friday, but the Colonial women bounced back to defeat an improved La Salle team the next night.
It was a respectable weekend for GW (10-7, 4-4 A-10), as it maintained its .500 conference record. The Colonial women and GW head coach Susie Homan, who said her team is underachieving right now, can jump right back into the tight, seven-team A-10 race for the postseason as they play their next four conference matches at the Smith Center.
“We have to believe we can make it because that was our goal,” Homan said. “It’s time to stop talking and start playing.”
GW 3, La Salle 1
Bouncing back from an overwhelming loss the night before, GW played extremely hard and found a 3-1 victory against La Salle (11-7, 2-6 A-10) at the Hayman Center.
Four Colonial women had double digits in kills, while sophomore setter Jill Levey added 29 assists. Fellow sophomore Suzana Manole chipped in with another triple-double performance, amassing 13 kills, 24 assists and 19 digs as GW earned a much-needed conference victory.
GW had timely kills and some enthusiastic blocks late in the match to fight off the Lady Explorers’ fierce fourth-game comeback.
“I’m proud of our win against La Salle,” Homan said. “We needed it.”
Senior Tai Bethune showed great leadership in the final game as she served GW to an 8-0 lead before the scrappy La Salle team fought back. Ahead 9-4, sophomore Renee Arnold had an emphatic block and later pounded one of her 12 kills to halt La Salle’s late run and give the Colonial women the final game of the match, 15-12. Sophomore Julie Jahnke’s nine kills and her 6-2 presence also were keys in the match.
“We fought from point one to finish,” Jahnke said. “We have to play together for the entire match.”
GW blew leads of 8-3 and 12-5 in the first game and fell to the Lady Explorers 16-14. GW committed a match-high 11 errors in the game, many of them late in the game. GW was in control early on as LaSalle was diving left and right after the barrage of GW attacks. But junior Melissa Hodge, who had 12 kills for the match, led La Salle’s comeback in the game.
The Colonial women battled the Lady Explorers back and forth in the second game, but GW’s height took advantage of La Salle’s weaker middle blockers and GW went on to win 15-8. The game was even at 8-8, but an impressive lofty service ace by Levey and kills by junior Gabriela Mojska gave the Colonial women control. GW had a team hitting percentage of .306 and committed only three errors in what was its first game victory of the weekend.
“They have outstanding blockers,” Hodge said of GW. “They were simply taller than we were.”
GW took its momentum into the third game, and Manole pounded several kills in leading the Colonial women to a 15-4 victory. LaSalle coach Jason Klotkowski called two timeouts in an attempt to revive his squad and slow down the Colonial women, but GW’s defense was too strong, allowing only eight kills in the game.
Temple 3, GW 0
Miscommunication and a near flawless opponent led to GW’s lopsided loss at Temple’s McGonigle Hall Friday.
The Lady Owls (10-5, 6-1 A-10) played fundamentally sound, committing only eight errors in the entire match. The three-game sweep of the Colonial women, which took just an hour and seven minutes, showed that GW has much to improve upon if it wants to compete with the top teams of the A-10.
Homan pointed out after the loss that the Colonial women must play up to their potential in order to compete for postseason action.
“We discussed the fact that we’re underachieving,” Homan said. “We stepped on the court and didn’t compete against Temple.”
GW dug itself a giant hole early in the match as it had only four kills and committed a match-high 10 errors in the first game. The Colonial women kept the score close early at 4-2 but yielded 11 unanswered points and lost the game 15-2.
Temple’s outstanding 6-2 freshman, Enkeleida Shkoza, pounded many of her 14 total kills in the first game. She went error-free as well with a hitting percentage of .583.
The second game was no different as GW fell behind quickly, 11-1. The Colonial women battled for a couple of hard earned points, but Temple’s sophomore Alma Kovaci had many of her match-high 16 kills in the 15-4 Temple victory. The Colonial women had nine kills and only two errors in the game, but the aggressive Lady Owls were even better, pounding 20 kills while committing only three errors.
“We went out there with no intensity and no fire,” Jahnke said.
The final game of the match was the best for GW as it actually led 2-0 before falling in the end, 15-6. GW’s three-game total hitting percentage of .000, including 21 kills and 21 errors in 96 total attempts, was no match for Temple’s .382 attack percentage. The Lady Owls dominated with 47 kills in 102 total attempts.
“They’re a good team,” Temple junior Marcia Lyssy said. “We thought it was going to be a tougher match.”