Volleyball skid ends with tourney sweep

After losing its first seven games this season, the GW volleyball team needed a spark. Sophomore Kaimana Lee went as far as saying the Colonials were going to “annihilate” the next teams they played.

The Colonials backed up Lee’s statement by beating Jacksonville 3-1 Friday night and defeating the University of Akron and the State University of New York at Binghamton on Saturday at the GW Invitational. GW dropped only one game on Saturday.

The three wins helped the Colonials capture the tournament, which was held at the Smith Center, for the second straight year.

“I just hoped our actions would speak louder than our words,” Lee said. “I think we came back this weekend. After starting 0-7 we proved that we could annihilate them.”

The tournament saw a change in game plan for the Colonials (3-7), as head coach Jojit Coronel started senior co-captains Katie Downey and Molly Law, who each saw limited action in earlier games. The move paid off, as the two combined for 50 kills and 50 digs, while Law was named to the all-tournament team.

“We need people of action out there on the court,” Coronel said. “That’s why Molly Law is out there. She’s a senior, she’s got absolutely nothing to lose. I said to the team, ‘If you’re going to make a mistake out there, do it boldly.'”

Sophomore Juliene McLaughlin again showed why she is one of the best outside hitters in the Atlantic 10. McLaughlin, who was named Most Valuable Player of the tourney, led the Colonials on the floor with 63 kills. For the third straight tournament GW entered, McLaughlin was named to an all-tournament team along with Lee, who racked up 157 assists on the weekend.

Saturday night, the Colonials swept Akron 3-0, clinching the tournament title. GW packed a powerful punch, easily defeating the Zips 30-25, 30-26 and 30-19. The losses dropped Akron’s record to 8-4 this season.

In the afternoon game, GW beat Binghamton 3-1. In game one, the Colonials and Bearcats (5-5) battled back and forth, but GW sophomore Kelly Kabbes put the game away with an over-the-top kill to give GW a 33-31 win.

In game two, the Colonials were down 28-26 but rallied with kills by McLaughlin, Downey and junior Abigail Hatter, who helped give their team a 31-29 win.

In game three, the Colonials struggled as the Bearcats took advantage, winning the game 30-28. In game four GW rallied from a 25-20 deficit with a 10-3 run to clinch the match with a 30-28 win.

Friday night, GW picked up its first win of the season, defeating Jacksonville 3-1.

Even with three straight victories, the pressure is not off of the Colonials as they begin conference play next weekend.

“We have to get back to .500 and we don’t want to start 0-7 in A-10 play,” Coronel said. “Our goal is to make the conference tournament.”

The Colonials open their A-10 season Saturday at Duquesne at 7 p.m.

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