A 25-kill performance by junior Sarah Hokom propelled the GW volleyball team into the Atlantic 10 championship match this weekend, but even the co-captain’s efforts were not enough to knock off No.1 seed and GW’s Achilles heel, Temple, for the title.
GW (19-13, 8-7 A-10) moved past Dayton in four games Friday night to come within one game of advancing to the NCAA Tournament. But, as usual, the Colonials’ momentum was thwarted in the face of the Owls. Temple knocked off GW in four games Saturday night at Xavier’s Cintas Center, marking the 10th straight time the Owls have beaten GW since 1998.
Despite the season-ending loss, GW head coach Jojit Coronel said he was pleased with the way his team progressed this year.
“Our goal for this season was to make the A-10 Tournament, and we achieved that,” he said. “Playing for the title and losing will only make us hungrier, and our potential next year is limitless.”
After Friday’s convincing win over Dayton, the Colonials hung tough early in the match against a talented Temple team Saturday night, winning the first game 30-20.
But the Owls (25-6, 15-1 A-10) bounced back quickly under the guidance of A-10 Coach of the Year Bob Bertucci. Temple won the second game 30-23 to tie the match at one apiece and won the next two games 31-29 and 27-20 to win the match and an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
“We played very well,” Coronel said. “We could’ve played better on a couple points, but this is probably the best we had played all season.”
Hokom led all players with 32 digs and junior Ruth Lazzari led GW with 22 kills. A-10 Rookie of the Year freshman Lindsey Vernand recorded a double double with 11 kills and 16 digs.
In the semifinals, GW dropped a tough first game to Dayton 29-31 but dominated the rest of the semifinal match to win 3-1. After Dayton (22-7, 12-5 A-10) took the first game, the Colonials won the next three 30-19, 30-24, and 30-19. Hokom led GW with a match-high 25 kills while Lazarri notched 22 digs.
“We needed to execute our ball control, and we did that flawlessly,” Coronel said. “It was, ultimately, a terrific performance.”