Playing without two key starters, the GW volleyball team could not fend off the taller and stronger University of South Carolina Friday night in the NCAA Tournament’s first round in Lincoln, Neb.
Senior outside hitter Renee Arnold sat out with a sprained knee and freshmen hitter Ruth Lazzari was benched with a dislocated ankle as they watched their team fall 15-13, 15-10, 15-3.
The sweep ended the Colonials (25-6) inspirational journey, which was dedicated to late coach Yvette Moorehead.
The Gamecocks out-hit GW 51-to-41 in kills.
Seniors Julie Jahnke and Suzana Manole led the Colonials, finishing their proud GW careers with nine kills each. Senior Jill Levey put up 32 of GW’s 40 assists.
It is disappointing when we lose, said Levey, according to a Sports Information press release. (The seniors) went out playing the best volleyball of our careers. Sure, we would have liked to have won, but we are satisfied with our play.
The only point in the match that GW managed a lead larger than one point was in the first game, opening the game 12-9 before surrendering the lead during a four-point Gamecocks streak.
If we win the first game, it springboards us into the second game so we wouldn’t have had to dig ourselves out of a hole, said GW coach Jojit Coronel, according to the release. This was a very big match for us, and (South Carolina is) a great team.
South Carolina head coach Kim Christopher said her team needed to win the first game to set the tone of the match.
The first game really gave us confidence, Christopher said according to the release. We have a young team, and I felt we were really tight up to that point. (The win) gave us the confidence that we needed for the second game.
After GW dropped the first game, the hole just got deeper. In game two, GW’s hitting percentage dropped to from .197 to .091 percent. The Colonials quickly fell behind 6-1 in the second game, but fought back to cut the deficit to 10-9.
Once South Carolina edged them for the win in game two, the Colonials lost all offensive capacity and mustered a poor .179 hitting percent in game three.
South Carolina got better as the game went on today, said Coronel, according to the release. They dug a lot of shots, so did we, but they are such a bigger team that we had faced all season. They also got their share of blocks today.
Cally Plummer’s 15 kills and Berna Dwyer’s 12 kills led the Gamecocks (22-6).