Volleyball splits pair at home

The GW volleyball team salvaged its Parents and Alumni Weekend with an impressive comeback win over Xavier Saturday night at the Smith Center. The Colonials were down 2-0 at intermission but stormed back to win three straight games. The victory followed a Friday night 3-1 loss to Dayton.

Senior Ruth Lazzari, junior Katie Downey and freshman Julienne McLaughlin led the comeback over Xavier (7-11 overall, 1-3 Atlantic 10). Lazzari led the team with 25 kills while Downey and McLaughlin both added double digit kills, with 16 and 13, respectively.

“(Xavier) is not a team we are supposed to lose to,” GW head coach Jojit Coronel said after the game. “I was disappointed with the team’s play, and I told the team to go play GW volleyball – reckless abandon (and) aggressive play.”

After looking sloppy and unenthusiastic during Games One and Two, GW (15-3, 2-1 A-10) looked like a new team after intermission. A 7-0 run in Game Three began with consecutive kills by McLaughlin, Lazzari and Downey. McLaughlin then took things into her own hands by scoring four straight points on three aces and one kill.

“I like playing under the pressure that we have to win,” McLaughlin said.

The run came at a good time for the Colonials, who were in jeopardy of being swept over the weekend in front of family and alumni.

“Ending the weekend with two losses would have been devastating,” Lazzari said. “That’s not the way we are supposed to play.”

Friday night against Dayton (13-7, 3-0 A-10), the Colonials were thoroughly outplayed by their opponents. The Colonials were down 2-0 at intermission but mounted a comeback to win Game Three, 30-28. Then they ran out of gas and lost 30-18 in Game Four.

“Dayton is a good team, but nothing special. I thought they would be better,” Coronel said. “We put a little more pressure on ourselves than usual because of Parents and Alumni Weekend.”

Since the team will be on the road during Colonials Weekend, it invited parents and alumni to GW this past weekend, which resulted in large crowds (a combined 691 fans over two games). GW’s strong start has attracted a large student following, which included several members of the GW men’s crew team on Saturday. Crew team members gave standing ovations during game play and at one point, senior Evan Johnson ripped off a jacket and sported a T-shirt with a giant 13 on it, senior co-captain Sarah Hokom’s uniform number.

Next weekend GW plays on the road at rival Temple (5-7, 2-1 A-10). Temple beat GW last season in the A-10 Tournament final, taking the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Temple and GW were ranked first and second, respectively, in the A-10 preseason coaches’ poll. Saturday night GW plays at La Salle (8-13, 3-0 A-10).

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