The GW volleyball team seems to thrive under pressure but still has trouble finishing when it counts.
The Colonials made strong comeback attempts this past weekend in their efforts against Atlantic 10 rival Duquesne and newcomer Saint Louis but lost both matches 3-1. The Colonials salvaged one win in each match, pushing both to an hour and 54 minutes.
“Our problem right now is we play well when our backs are to the wall,” head coach Jojit Coronel said. He added that he thinks the Colonials (7-12, 1-5 A-10) put themselves into deep deficits from which they are unable to fully recover.
Duquesne 3, GW 1
The Dukes outlasted the Colonials (27-30, 27-30, 30-25, 23-30) Sunday afternoon with the help of strong blocking and GW errors. The Colonials had the edge with kills, 76-63, but had troubles with powerful scoring. Duquesne edged GW in offensive hitting, .288 to .205. Junior Amanda Haeg, who registered 16 kills, led the Dukes.
The Colonials put up strong numbers on defense, with 78 digs to Duquesne’s 66. Sophomore Janine Brown led GW with 20, followed by junior outside hitter Juliene McLaughlin with 17.
McLaughlin led the way for GW with 18 kills, while senior Lindsay Vernand dropped 16. Junior Kelly Kabbes registered 12 kills, and sophomore Erica Williams hit a career-high .800.
GW and Duquesne kept the first game close, last tied at 17-17. The Dukes then began a 10-2 run that put them up 27-19. GW battled back and Vernand scored five points in the Colonials’ 6-1 run. It was not enough as Duquesne closed out the first game 30-27.
In game two, GW was down 28-10 before igniting a 7-1 run to put them behind 29-27. In similar fashion to many other games this season, the Colonials slipped behind.
GW and Duquesne traded leads for the first half of game three. The game was finally tied up at 17-17 with Brown’s kill for the Colonials. Duquesne tied GW again at 18-18 and 20-20. The Colonials began a 10-4 run with junior setter Kaimana Lee’s kill to tie the game again at 21-21. GW survived elimination when Kabbes’ kill won the game at 30-25.
Last to score in game three, Kabbes began game four with a kill. The Dukes capitalized on GW errors and successful blocking to go up 8-2 quickly. The Colonials stayed close with kills while Duquesne continued to gain points from GW hitting out of bounds. GW had trouble trimming the Dukes’ seven – point lead, but rallied from 29-20 to 29-23 before Duquesne scored the match point.
Saint Louis 3, GW 1
GW fell to Saint Louis (8-10, 2-2 A-10) Friday afternoon in the first meeting between the schools by the scores of 19-30, 30-25, 22-30, 20-30. The Billikens dominated with junior outside hitters Tatyana Menshikova and Angela Powers recording 19 kills each.
McLaughlin led the Colonials’ offense with 12 kills alongside of senior Abigail Hatter and Vernand, who had an additional 10 kills each. However, GW hit only .190 compared to .342 for the Billikens. SLU also had more blocks, 15 to the Colonials’ seven.
The Colonials kept the first game close early until Saint Louis jumped ahead with a five-point run to go up 12-6. Later, a six-point run gave the Billikens a 22-11 advantage. Scoring was even the rest of the match, but GW could not tighten the game and SLU won 30-19.
GW was able to match the intensity of SLU throughout game two. The Colonials jumped from tying 7-7 to leading 13-7 on a run fueled by kills, blocks and an ace by Lee. The Billikens were able to catch-up at 18-18 and remain close throughout the rest of the game. The Colonials’ 30-25 win tied the match at 1-1.
The Billikens built big leads early in game three, ahead 14-7 before GW took its first timeout. Strong blocking by SLU and GW errors combined to put the Billikens up at 19-12 before the Colonials’ next timeout. Two kills apiece for Vernand and Hatter kept GW within seven points of SLU. The Billikens maintained their healthy leads to an eventual 30-23 victory.
Saint Louis began the fourth game on a 6-2 run wherein Menshikova scored every point on five kills and a block assist with sophomore middle blocker Sutton Lasater. The Billikens’ 8-2 run brought their lead to 18-6 a few minutes later. The Colonials were able to sustain scoring with a 5-1 run to come within 10 points of the Billikens at 13-23. Scoring was even most of the rest of the match with two kills by McLaughlin in the late minutes to keep GW on the offensive. Senior setter Lauren Boissevain scored on game and match point for Saint Louis with her kill for the 30-20 win.
The Colonials will be on the road next weekend against more A-10 foes, Rhode Island this Friday and at Fordham on Sunday.