GW volleyball qualified for the Atlantic 10 tournament by beating La Salle Friday night and then getting help from Xavier and Dayton, who both beat Rhode Island over the weekend. Even though the Colonials lost to Temple Saturday, their win Friday coupled with URI’s losses propelled GW to a tie for third place with Xavier, leaving the Rams one game back and out of the tournament.
The Colonials (21-9, 8-6 A-10) victory Friday night completed a season sweep over hapless La Salle (8-25, 0-14 A-10), who only won two games in conference play all season. GW had few problems with the Explorers, winning in an hour and 24 minutes, 30-14, 30-20 and 30-25.
Seniors led the Colonials, as Ruth Lazzari and Sarah Hokom had 15 and 10 kills, respectively. Fellow classmate Lauren Dunning also had 33 assists and 11 digs.
“It was important (to beat La Salle Friday) because no one wants to stare at having to beat Temple or not play anymore volleyball,” Dunning said.
GW’s seniors were then honored Saturday against Temple (19-7, 13-1 A-10) on Senior Day. Lazzari, Hokom, Dunning and Laura Harrison went 71-46 overall in their GW careers, and were given portraits and flowers in a pre-game ceremony, as well as leis from Hawaiian freshman Kaimana Lee’s parents.
Heading into the match, those seniors were trying to break an 11 game losing streak to Temple, but they fell to the Owls again, 30-28, 30-25 and 30-23.
Three Temple players finished with double-digit kills, topped by Yamit Haba, who had 16. Xu Yun added 12 more and Liu Shu had 11 kills. The Colonials also allowed seven aces to senior Margaret Majewska.
“We were literally centimeters away,” GW head coach Jojit Coronel said. “We knew exact what they were going to do but it’s just matter of getting into our heads. We are just not up to speed with their level of play.”
Coronel attributed part of the Colonials problems against Temple to the Owl’s maturity. Since Temple is comprised of six international athletes, including two from Canada, three from China and one from Israel, many of these players are much older than the usual college-age athletes.
“It’s a huge advantage (for Temple). They are very good players who are experienced,” he said. “They do not get rattled on the court when things are not going their way. They have 23, 24, 25 year olds. You can’t ask for more as far as experience and maturity.”
The Colonials could get one more shot at the Owls if both teams win their games when the A-10 Tournament begins Friday. While the tournament was originally scheduled to be played in Rhode Island, it has been moved to No. 1 seed Temple because the Rams failed to qualify.
GW will be the No. 3 seed and face No. 2 seed Dayton by virtue of winning a tie-breaker over Xavier, who lost more conference games than the Colonials. GW lost to Dayton both times this season, 3-1 at home in October and 3-0 on the road two weeks ago.
Xavier, who has won six straight matches, will face Temple in the other semifinal. If GW can beat Dayton, they would play for the A-10 Championship Saturday.