PHILADELPHIA – Temple’s Enkeleida Shkoza pounded 23 kills and Atlantic 10 Player of the year Alma Kovaci added 15 as the Lady Owls ousted GW 3-1 in the semifinal round of the A-10 Tournament at McGonigle Hall.
The tournament appearance was the GW women’s volleyball team’s first since the 1995 season. GW’s loss to Temple was the team’s third this season and the Colonial women’s eighth defeat in its last nine matches against the Lady Owls. Temple (24-5) outmatched Rhode Island 3-1 to win the A-10 Tournament and received an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament beginning Dec 2.
The Colonial women (16-11) were led by senior and A-10 All-Conference Team member Gabriela Mojska, who tallied 18 kills in her final match for GW. GW junior Tracee Brown was also named to the All-Conference Team)
Temple out-pounded GW 70-49 in kills and the Lady Owls’ baseline defense proved too strong for GW’s attack. The Colonial women’s lackluster first game of the team’s most important match of the season proved costly as GW dug a hole it could not overcome. GW’s 15-3 loss in the opener saw the Colonial women hit only five kills. Temple hit nine kills and committed only one error as the Lady Owls dominated in the opener.
Despite a stronger showing in the second game for the Colonial women, Temple outmatched GW 15-8. Shkoza’s presence was intimidating as she stood by the net, pounding kills set up by Temple’s setter, Solana Lee. The Lady Owls had 21 kills and committed only five errors as Temple closed in on a sweep of GW.
But the Colonial women out-played Temple in the third game, defeating the Lady Owls 15-9. GW hit 16 kills and made only three errors in 34 attempts as the Colonial women produced a .382 attack percentage. Junior Julie Jahnke stood strong at the net and pounded two crucial kills late in the game. Tied at 8-8, a strong Mojska service game and late Temple errors propelled GW to victory.
A questionable officials’ call proved costly in GW’s 15-12 loss to Temple in the fourth and final game. The Colonial women led 4-0 and then 7-4 when a ball appeared to hit Temple’s Kovaci before going out. The ruling was that the ball hit by GW went out of bounds without touching Kovaci, and Temple was awarded a point.
Seconds later, the Lady Owls served an ace, suddenly cutting GW’s momentum and its lead to 7-6. The teams battled back and forth and Temple earned its first lead at 11-10. A strong Shkoza kill increased the Temple lead to 14-12. Despite staving off one elimination point, GW fell in the end.