Volleyball clinches spot in A-10 Tournament

The GW volleyball team used its final match of the season to tune up for next weekend’s Atlantic 10 tournament, having already clinched the No. 3 seed with a 3-1 home victory over Fordham Friday night.

The Colonials lost their season finale to Rhode Island the following night but gained valuable experience, head coach Jojit Coronel said.

“It was a great opportunity to practice against a team that plays on all cylinders because in the A-10 (tournament) everybody is going to playing on all cylinders,” he said.

The Colonials will face No. 2 seed Dayton (23-6, 11-3 A-10) Friday at Xavier’s Cintas Center, while No. 1 Temple will face No. 4 Xavier. Two years ago, GW won the conference tournament and received an NCAA berth but failed to make the tournament last year, finishing seventh in the A-10.

“I expect us to win the A-10,” Coronel said. “If we take it one match at a time, we should do well. Even if we have to deplete our fuel cells for that first match against Dayton, we will have achieved our goal, which is to get into the final.”

Juniors Sarah Hokom and Ruth Lazzari led the Colonials (18-12, 8-5 A-10), who never seemed to struggle against Fordham but fought hard to pull out a victory over Rhode Island in five games, each of which could have gone either way.

Rhode Island 3, GW 2
Saturday, Nov. 16

Rhode Island was not supposed to be a difficult opponent for the A-10 bound Colonials in their season finale, but the Rams played beyond their potential Saturday night, beating the Colonials 3-2.

“This is probably the best match Rhode Island has played all season, and I knew they were going to come out fighting,” Coronel said.

After dropping a dismal second game 30-24, the Colonials seemed poised to go up 2-1 with a solid start in game three. But GW dropped several game points as the Rams tied the score at 30 apiece. Rhode Island then registered the next two points to take the game and lead the match 2-1.

While they tied the match at two with a game-four win, the Colonials could not prevail in the final game, despite an early 5-1 lead.

The Colonials fought back to tie the score seven times after Rhode Island took an 8-7 lead. Hokom spearheaded the comeback with several important kills and two solo blocks but could not stop Rhode Island junior Mary Kate Reardon, who recorded her 14th kill of the match to put Rhode Island up 15-14. Freshman Lindsey Vernand had a chance to tie it up, but her attack sailed out to give the Rams the win.

Lazzari, Hokom and Vernand each ended their standout regular seasons with double doubles. Lazzari notched 16 kills and 23 digs to go along with 6 blocks, Hokom recorded 18 kills and 14 digs, and Vernand had 18 kills and 19 digs.

While the loss had no real significance in the standings, it did end the Colonials’ three-game winning streak and quelled some of the momentum gained in Friday’s win.

GW 3, Fordham 1
Friday, Nov. 15

It took only one hour and 50 minutes to clinch the third seed in the A-10 tournament when GW beat Fordham handily Friday night at the Smith Center. Hokom led all players with 24 kills while Lazzari contributed 20 digs in the 3-1 victory.

The Colonials lost the first game 26-30 before sweeping the next three games 30-20, 30-24 and 30-21. With her parents in the crowd, Vernand tallied another double double with 17 kills and 13 digs.

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