The GW volleyball team is now in jeopardy if not qualifying for the Atlantic 10 Tournament after losing on the road to Dayton and Xavier last weekend. The Colonials started the season with a 10-game winning streak but now must win one of their final two games at home next weekend to secure the fourth and final seed of the tournament.
If Xavier wins its final three games and GW fails to beat either LaSalle Friday or Temple Saturday at home, the Colonials would miss the tournament. They beat LaSalle 3-0 earlier this year but lost to Temple for the 10th straight time in October.
The losses this past weekend meant GW split its season matches with Xavier and lost both to Dayton. Over the past month, playing every weekend on the road, GW posted a 3-4 A-10 record while losing its only non-conference match.
“This was our fourth weekend in a row that we were on the road. We are the only team in the conference to have this kind of schedule. It’s just the unluckiness of the draw,” GW head coach Jojit Coronel said. “Right now we are struggling; we need to refocus. We need to play one match, one game and one point at a time and not worry about everything else.”
Dayton (21-8, 10-1 A-10) has overwhelmed the A-10 and GW all season. The Flyers crushed the Colonials 3-0 on Saturday, as GW had 33 errors and a negative .014 kill percentage. Dayton won each game easily, 30-22, 30-13 and 30-18.
The Colonials played a better match against Xavier (11-14, 5-6 A-10) Friday at the Cintas Center in front of 578 fans but could not outlast the Musketeers in a five-game match. GW rallied back from a 2-1 deficit but ran out of gas in the fifth and deciding game. After two hours and 15 minutes, the final scores read in Xavier’s favor, 23-30, 30-16, 30-27, 19-30 and 15-12.
Senior Ruth Lazzari led all scorers with 23 kills, sophomore Lindsey Vernand added 20 kills and senior co-captain Lauren Dunning had 52 assists. The problem for the Colonials once again was errors, as GW committed 39 compared to Xavier’s 30. Lazzari, Vernand and senior co-captain Sarah Hokom combined for 28 of the 39 errors.
“I wouldn’t say that we are (mentally and physically) stressed,” Coronel said. “We played well but (Xavier) played some of their best volleyball. This was our second hardest road trip of the year behind the South Carolina trip (when the Colonials went 1-2 in the Gamecock Invitational) and the Xavier fans are the toughest in the A-10.”
Before their final weekend of conference play, the Colonials face the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Tuesday at the Smith Center. The Hawks have won 16 of their last 17 matches and have already won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference North Division regular season title. They are coached by former Colonials assistant Toby Rens.
“They are a good team and we played well when we played them last year,” Coronel said. “I will probably play the freshmen and some of the girls who haven’t seen as much time lately so they can be prepared for the rest of the season.”
With their recent struggles against Temple, the Colonials’ most important match of the season will come against La Salle (8-21, 0-10 A-10), which is currently in last place in the A-10. The match against Temple (16-7, 11-1 A-10) Saturday will be Senior Night at the Smith Center.