The GW volleyball team provided a perfect opening to Friday’s Midnight Madness as it upset Virginia Tech in dominating fashion at the Smith Center.
GW beat the Lady Hokies right before the festivities began to open the season for GW’s basketball teams.
The Colonial women (12-7, 6-4 Atlantic 10) also defeated a younger Duquesne team Saturday to complete a crucial weekend sweep at home.
After its most successful weekend of the season, GW is in position to reach A-10 postseason action. The Colonial women once again control their own destiny and play Xavier and Dayton next weekend at home. They also hope to get head coach Susie Homan back on the sidelines. GW assistant coach Yvette Moorehead was in charge of the Colonial women in place of Homan, who was ill.
GW 3, Duquesne 0
Riding the intensity of Friday’s victory over Virginia Tech, GW put forth another outstanding effort, sweeping Duquesne (6-11, 1-9 A-10) Saturday night.
Competing against a smaller and younger Duquesne team, GW controlled the net and pounded 45 total kills. Duquesne was competitive at times, but its -.017 hitting percentage and 31 total errors hurt its chances against the Colonial women.
The final game of the match showcased junior Gabriela Mojska, who had several blocks and kills in helping the Colonial women win 15-5. GW had separate runs of five and six points in the final game, while the Lady Dukes had five kills and a match-high 12 errors.
GW jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second game behind the effort of sophomore Julie Jahnke, who contributed two of her nine kills in the run. The Lady Dukes stormed back behind the strong play of freshman Mindy Buhrow and took the lead, 11-10. But sophomores Renee Arnold and Suzana Manole and senior Tai Bethune each had important kills as GW stepped up its play to take a two-game lead.
GW and Duquesne battled in the first game as the Lady Dukes showed signs that they would be a tough challenge for the more experienced Colonial women. The Lady Dukes led GW 8-7, but the Colonial women tallied many of their 20 game-one kills and won the next eight points to take the game 15-8. Duquesne’s .150 hitting percentage in the game was its highest of the match, but was no competition for GW’s .333 hitting percentage.
“We played as a cohesive unit which definitely helped us maintain our lead throughout match,” Jahnke said.
GW 3, Virginia Tech 1
Virginia Tech was favored to beat an erratic GW team before Friday night’s match at the Smith Center.
After spotting the Lady Hokies a six-point lead in the first game, it looked as though the Colonial women were going to struggle to stay competitive against Tech. But when the one hour and 39 minute match ended, the Colonial women had soundly beaten the Lady Hokies.
Virginia Tech (11-6, 6-3) took the momentum with kills from senior middle blocker Corrie Bundy as it defeated a nervous GW team in the first game of the match. GW’s match-high 10 errors and its -.024 hitting percentage were key factors in its loss in the first game. Virginia Tech won 15-7 as some scattered Hokie faithful were on their feet in applause.
GW setter Jill Levey, who had 21 assists and a match-high 19 digs, brought GW back in the second game as she dove left and right for balls to keep rallies alive. Levey’s performance and many strong kills from sophomore Renee Arnold helped GW take an early 4-0 lead in game two.
GW followed that with a crucial five-point run later in the game to extend an 8-5 lead to 13-5. Despite a Lady Hokies comeback led by Bundy and junior Rachel Julian, GW won 15-10. Virginia Tech’s 15 errors in game two were costly as GW’s .157 hitting percentage was good enough for the victory.
An outstanding service attack by Levey and Manole caught the Lady Hokies off guard and strong kills by Arnold and Bethune overwhelmed Virginia Tech 15-4 in game three. Arnold and Bethune combined for 23 of GW’s 48 kills in the match.
The Colonial women, riding the momentum of a crucial game-two victory, exploded out to an 8-1 lead. The Lady Hokies showed poor communication and net execution as they had only four kills and recorded 11 errors in 30 total attempts. Their -.233 attack percentage and GW’s .304 attack percentage, with nine kills and only two errors, were major factors in the lopsided GW win.
“We’re coming out of our slump,” Levey said. “We had some fire.”
Manole showed why she was deserving of the A-10 Player of the Week award as she dominated the net with six blocks. She also set the tone for the fourth and final game with an enthusiastic first-point kill. Gabriela Mojska was solid as well for the Colonial women, posting a double-double with 12 kills and 14 digs.
“We were pumped up about Virginia Tech,” Manole said. “We kicked their butts.”
GW continued its sharp and intense play as it had 16 kills and only four errors in the final game. With the score 9-6 in GW’s favor, the Colonial women won seven of the final eight points to win the game 15-7 and the match.
“We picked up our intensity level and aggression that we have lacked for so long,” Jahnke said.