Starting the season on the road is always hard for a team. Competing away from home against top-level opponents is part of the college volleyball world, head coach Jojit Coronel said. The Colonials have not been able to adjust in past years and before this weekend at the State Farm Bearcat Invitational, it looked like this year would be no different.
The GW volleyball team picked up one win in their three matches in Cincinnati this past weekend. The Colonials (3-7) ended a six-game losing streak by defeating Jacksonville (Ala.) State in straight games Friday in the final match for GW at the State Farm Bearcat Invitational at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena.
GW lost to host University of Cincinnati earlier in the day after a loss to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Thursday.
The Colonials will try to extend their winning ways against George Mason in Fairfax, Va., on Tuesday night. Following Mason, GW will return to Ohio next weekend to kick off their Atlantic 10 schedule against Xavier and Dayton.
GW 3, Jacksonville State 0
GW beat the Gamecocks (3-7) in three straight matches, 30-22, 30-24, 30-28, on Friday.
In the clinching game three, GW trailed 26-25 before senior Lindsey Vernand scored two consecutive points to give the Colonials the lead. JSU tied the game at 27-27 with Kim Halbach’s kill. After another kill by each team, a JSU service error gave GW the 29-28 lead. Coronel’s Colonials took a timeout followed by an ace by junior Juliene McLaughlin to win the third match and the game.
On offense, outside hitter Vernand gave the Colonials 10 kills, hitting .368. Sophomore Janine Brown, an outside hitter who was named to the all-tournament team, had eight kills and hit .389 for GW. Abigail Hatter hit .455 in addition to her seven kills in 11 attempts.
Abbey Breit’s gave the Gamecocks 15 kills while her teammate Suzi Terrell recorded another 13 kills. Kisha West led JSU with 16 digs.
Cincinnati 3, GW 0
The Colonials were swept by Cincinnati, 30-23, 30-28, 30-11, in their first game Friday. Playing on their home court, the UC Bearcats (4-4) hit .435 overall with only nine errors in their 108 attempts. Comparatively, the Colonials hit .195 overall. UC hit .760 with no errors in game three.
Brown led GW with a .400 hitting average. The Colonials were paced with 13 digs by senior captain Jessica Vesey. Brown had 15 kills and McLaughlin had eight as an outside hitter
Cincinnati’s Maria Pongonis led the Bearcats with 13 kills followed by Jenny Custer who hit .500 and had 12 kills. Melissa Zenz’s 17 digs were the highest of the team.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3, GW 2
The Colonials fell to Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3-2 on Thursday night in a two hour, 26-minute match. The Colonials lost their closest match of the season, 30-28, 30-26, 19-30, 30-32, 16-14.
GW led late in every game of the match, including a 13-11 edge in the decisive fifth game until the Panthers came back to tie the frame twice on their way to the win.
Both junior Kelly Kabbes and Brown had 15 kills for the offense of the Colonials. Vernand had another 12 kills for GW. Vesey led with 26 digs and Brown contributed another 22.
Overall the Colonials hit .153 and the Panthers hit .103, but had 10 more kills than GW. Becky Peters set a UWM record with her 41 digs in the match.