PHILADELPHIA- The GW volleyball team lost to Dayton Friday night at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, ending its chances to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since it won the A-10 Title in 2000. GW will play one more game this season Wednesday afternoon at the Smith Center against American.
“It really hurt us that we did not have a good backstretch of A-10 play,” senior Lauren Dunning said. “I think the team learned that you have to finish up strong so you have confidence coming into the tournament.”
The Colonials (21-11, 8-7 A-10) were leading throughout Game One and looked prepared for the Flyers (24-9, 12-2 A-10), who beat them twice in the regular season. GW led 28-26, but Dayton freshman Faye Barhost made a kill and a block to tie the game.
GW junior Katie Downey followed with a service error, and after a Colonials timeout, Dayton finished the game 30-28. GW’s errors plagued the team all year, and they made 10 alone in Game One and 31 for the match. Dayton had only four in the opener and 17 for the match.
Dayton controlled Games Two and Three, winning easily 30-20 in both, as GW could not put together the type of comeback it used during its 10-game winning streak that opened the season.
“We let momentum get away and we let them sneak in at the end (of Game One),” GW head coach Jojit Coronel said. “They just wanted it more. The energy of the team was calm, and for us to win and comeback we need to play with a lot of fire. We didn’t quite get there tonight.”
Seniors Ruth Lazzari and Sarah Hokom, who had 13 and 11 kills, respectively, led the Colonials. Earlier in the week both players were named to the 2003 A-10 All-Conference Team. Dunning also contributed 32 assists.
Senior Erin Treadway led Dayton with 13 kills and junior Shanna Pressler added 11 kills. The Fyers also out-blocked the Colonials 11-5.
Wednesday will mark the final match for four GW seniors – Dunning, Lazzari, Hokom and Laura Harrison.
“Without a doubt, losing our seniors is going to be hard,” Coronel said. “They make up 65 percent to 75 percent of our offense. The face and dynamics of our team will change, and we have some incoming freshmen and returnees who will help us next season and pick up the load.”
With no “next season” for the seniors, Dunning said Friday’s loss was tough.
“I put four years of work into taking one of my teams to the NCAA (Tournament) and earning my own ring, but it just did not happen,” she said. “That’s sports. Somebody has to lose.”