The GW volleyball team opened its season on the road for the second consecutive year, dropping a match to James Madison University 3-1 in Harrisonburg, Va., on Aug. 26. The loss (24-30, 18-30, 30-24, 24-30) drops the Colonials (0-1) into red figures to start the season for the third time in five seasons.
The loss to James Madison (1-0) is the first in 17 meetings and marks the fifth consecutive year the opening match has been played on the road.
“I think without a doubt it’s tough to win on the road,” coach Jojit Coronel said. “On top, we were definitely prepared. We scrimmaged against Georgetown twice and played well.”
Coronel is happy with the preseason preparation of his squad but feels that they are having trouble finishing out games.
“I thought the first game we played, we played to high expectations. Score was 20-20 and JMU got a run and we weren’t able to battle back,” Coronel said. “We were trying to finish games. Between one and 20 we are really good, between 20 and 30 we are working on trying to find a way to finish or get back into the game. It’s one of those things with young teams. It’s a good experience even though we lost we did good things. Offensively we passed pretty well I think our passing was good. Our hitters hit well.”
Sophomore Janine Brown led the Colonials’ attack with 15 kills and a team-high 18 points. Brown played in 17 games last year, averaging 1.18 kills per game.
Junior Juliene McLaughlin had nine kills en route to 10 points. McLaughlin led the Colonials last year in nearly every category, averaging 4.35 kills per game and registering 92 points in the campaign.
“I’m not really impressed with how Janine played. Those were our expectations,” Coronel added. “Janine and Juliene did a really good job and attacked effectively with the number of swings they took.”
“I am very happy with the way (Janine and Juliene) played,” Coronel said. “Right now they are by far the most consistent on the team because they are on the court all the time. The expectations are very high for them because they are going around all six rotations. I’m impressed in that respect. I think they are just going to build endurance.”
Senior Shannon Park, a member of the 2002 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie squad, tallied 10 kills and 11 points. Last season, Park played in 17 games, compiling an average of 1.59 kills per game.
Paving the way for James Madison’s balanced attack was junior Hanna Porterfield and senior Emilee Hussack, both completing 17 kills. Porterfield, an Arlington, Va., native, converted for 17 points while Hussack had 20. Sophomore Allyson Halls had a career-high 15 kills while senior Nora Quish posted a career-high 10 kills.
Last season, the Colonials opened the season with a seven-game losing streak, a feat that Coronel does not want to rehash.
The Colonials will next host the GW Invitational at the Smith Center on Sept. 2 and 3. Teams participating in the tournament this year will be Delaware State, Towson and Iona. Before the tournament’s start on Friday, there are a few things Coronel said his squad needs to work on.
“There are three things we need to do: first thing we need to work on is servicing. Distribute the ball to our opposites and our middles so we don’t get too predictable,” Coronel said. “Our defense and our blocking need work. The third thing is just work on finishing games. We thought in the first game we were playing well. The closer we get to 30, the more nervous we become.”
But there is no looking to the past for Coronel, as he believes that the team is playing better than last season.
“We played better even than last year,” Coronel commented. “There’s always a first. Since I’ve been here we never beat Georgetown until a few years ago. We are a good team but need to believe in ourselves.”