The GW women’s volleyball team completed its magical conference season Sunday by winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament in a five-game thriller against Xavier at the Frericks Center in Dayton, Ohio.
The A-10 champion Colonials, who dedicated the season to late head coach Yvette Moorehead, will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, which begins Nov. 30. GW will find out its opponent and the site of its first NCAA Tournament game since 1995 Sunday night when the tournament brackets are announced.
The championship victory was the culmination of four years of hard work from five talented seniors – Jill Levey, Suzana Manole, Tracee Brown, Renee Arnold and Julie Jahnke – all of whom defined themselves as team leaders during the team’s difficult period in August. Current head coach Jojit Coronel, who took over as interim coach at the start of the season after Moorehead’s death, won A-10 Coach of the Year honors for a 16-2 conference record that saw the Colonials dominate almost every opponent. The one A-10 team GW did not defeat was Temple, which lost to Xavier in the A-10 semifinals. The Colonials defeated Dayton for the third time this season in Saturday’s semifinal in four games led by Tracee Brown’s match-high 31 kills.
Jill Levey was named the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player after recording 16 kills, 43 digs and 117 assists in two matches. Four of the five seniors were named to the 2000 All-Conference team. Arnold, who sat out the tourney with a sprained ankle, did not make the list. Last year, the Colonials lost to Temple in the A-10 tourney’s semifinal round.
GW 3, Xavier 2
Sunday, Nov. 19
The Colonials survived a five-game marathon against Xavier Sunday, including a 20-18 fifth game to win the A-10 Tournament and clinch their first automatic NCAA berth since 1995. Brown outplayed A-10 Player of the Year Sara Bachus in the final game of the two-hour, 25 minute match between a determined Xavier team and a destined GW squad. After a Brown kill that put the Colonials up 19-18, Xavier’s Jill Hampton hit the ball long giving GW its third win against the Muskateers this season.
The memorable match saw the Muskateers come back from two games down to tie the match at two games apiece. And in the fifth game Xavier overcame a 14-12 deficit to tie the score at 14-14. After a Brown kill to regain a 15-14 lead for GW, Xavier scored two unanswered points to take a 16-15 lead. The teams battled back and forth until Hampton’s miscue ended the battle.
GW dominated the first two games winning 15-8 and 15-6. Xavier (23-8, 14-4 A-10) came back strong winning the third game 15-5 and the fourth game 15-10.
Brown recorded a double-double with 25 kills and 21 digs while Jahnke (13 kills, 11 digs) and freshman Ruth Lazzari (12 kills, 20 digs) contributed double-doubles of their own. Sara Bachus had 24 kills and 27 digs for Xavier.
GW 3, Dayton 1
Saturday, Nov. 18
GW advanced to the A-10 Championship match with a four-game victory over Dayton at the Frericks Center. The win was the Colonials’ third victory over the Flyers, who were overwhelmed by GW’s offensive attack. Brown pounded 31 kills and Manole added 18 in the team’s 15-6, 10-15, 15-9, 15-11 semifinal win.