The Colonials may have played the spoiler this weekend in beating two Atlantic 10 teams competing for a bid to the conference tournament. GW (12-15, 5-8 A-10) broke a three-game losing streak by sweeping Charlotte on the road followed by a win against Fordham at the Smith Center. Fordham’s loss helps Charlotte in their race for the second tournament bid in the East with first-place Temple having already clinched their bid.
GW 3, Fordham 0
GW beat Fordham (18-13, 4-7 A-10) for the second time this season in three close games, 40-38, 30-28, 30-30-27, in one hour, 37 minutes. Earlier in the season the Colonials won 3-2 against Fordham in the Bronx.
The Colonials won with another balanced attack with four players with double-digit kills. Sophomore outside hitter Janine Brown’s ninth double-double of the season led the offense with 14 kills in addition to her 12 digs on defense. Junior outside hitter Juliene McLaughlin put up 10 kills and 14 digs for her 10th double-double, a team high. Junior middle hitter Kelly Kabbes had 12 kills, as did senior middle blocker Abigail Hatter, whose errorless .857 hitting average was her career high. Junior setter Kaimana Lee had 46 of the team’s 51 assists, as well as 10 digs.
Game one was a marathon, finally finishing at 40-38, giving the Colonials their highest single game point total and their longest game ever. Since rally scoring began in 2001, the highest GW had ever scored was 35. After a McLaughlin kill to tie and an error by the Rams, the game point was finally won on Kabbes’ clutch kill.
“We were just focused,” GW head coach Jojit Coronel said.
Strong hitting in game two gave GW an early lead. The Rams caught up to 15-all and junior Marija Markovic landed an ace after the Colonials took a time out for a two point lead. Two Fordham timeouts later, GW was leading 27-21, but found trouble closing the game out. It took senior middle hitter Shannon Parks’ kill at game point to close out the Rams at 30-28.
Leading two games to none in the match, the Colonials jumped out to a 12-3 lead in game three on kills from several players. Fordham was resurgent with a 10-2 run through two GW timeouts and tied the Colonials at 14-14 with the help of a GW error. Kabbes’ kill stopped the bleeding and began a 5-0 Colonials run. GW looked poised for an easy sweep, leading 27-18. However, the Colonials had to survive being outscored 9-3 by the Rams with another Kabbes kill for match point.
“Fordham played well,” Coronel said after GW had difficulty closing out the second and third games. “And when you play great, you make your opponent look bad.”
GW 3, Charlotte 0
The Colonials avenged their home loss to Charlotte (17-14, 8-5 A-10) by sweeping the 49ers on the road. The win evens the two game series in Charlotte’s first year in the Atlantic 10. GW won Thursday night’s match 30-27, 30-25, 30-26 in one hour, 30 minutes. Prior to this win at Charlotte, the Colonials had lost three straight matches beginning with their 3-2 loss to the 49ers on Oct. 23.
Brown slammed the 49ers with her 19 kills for the Colonials, leading both teams. She also had 14 digs in her double-double on the night, also the most of either team. Three other Colonials had double-digit kills against Charlotte: McLaughlin, Kabbes, and senior middle hitter Shannon Parks. GW recorded 64 kills to Charlotte’s 50.
In their loss, the 49ers still had strong hitting with a .313 average to the Colonials’.351 hitting percentage. Two of the 49ers, sophomore Alma Arroyo and senior Abbey Szlanfucht, put up double-doubles in the match.
GW hit very well in game one with an average of .429 on the attack and only four errors.
The teams were tied at 22 points a piece, but as the scoring continued the Colonials landed more kills to get the win ay 30-27.
Charlotte had a 23-20 lead in the second game until GW battled back with a 7-0 run on six kills and an ace. The Colonials only gave up two more points on their way to the 30-25 victory.
Game three’s 21-21 tie was broken by a GW kill followed by an ace. The 49ers still kept the game close, but Kabbes’ two consecutive kills ended the game and finished the Colonials’ sweep.
The Colonials have two games remaining in the season, 7 p.m. weekend matches against Maryland-Eastern Shore and American at the Smith Center on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Saturday’s game against American is also senior night.