GW drops straight sets to Billikens

The GW volleyball team was about to lose its third straight game – and the match – to Saint Louis Sunday at Smith Center, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them.

Always outwardly optimistic, the Colonials (11-13, 3-5 Atlantic 10) had little to keep positive about in losing 17-30, 18-30, 18-30 to the Billikens. No one hit well and the team’s .029 hitting percentage was its worst of the season.

Senior Janine Brown explained the importance of the team appearing positive, regardless of how the game is going.

“It’s a huge momentum killer,” Brown said of her team getting down on itself.

The loss was GW’s third three-set loss in its last four games and any signs of a turnaround after the Colonials’ 3-1 (23-30, 30-28, 30-27, 30-18) win over Duquesne Friday proved nonexistent Sunday.

“It’s frustrating because some of the players on the team played well on Friday, but it doesn’t carry over 48 hours later,” coach Jojit Colonel said.

GW was inconsistent, only showing life once the third game was already out of reach. Not surprisingly, “consistency” was the word on the lips of GW’s players and coaches after the game.

“We have to continually work on having the momentum every game and faking it until we have it,” Brown said.

Brown managed to hide her frustration against Saint Louis (17-5, 6-2 A-10), despite converting just six kills on 38 attempts. Every spike Brown registered seemed to be rudely greeted by a block or dig and then converted into a Billiken point.

Colonel and Brown both said the team needs to stay energized after getting off to slow starts and control the ball more regularly if it is going to qualify for and advance in the A-10 tournament. Despite the loss, the Colonials are in position to make the tournament because the A-10s East division, which GW competes, is much weaker than the West.

“The big picture is to get to the A-10s,” Coronel said. “If we want to win in the tournament, we’re going to have to play with Saint Louis and we’re going to have to play with (8-1) Dayton and (8-0) Xavier.”

The top three teams in each division make the A-10 tournament, and despite being 3-5 in conference play, GW is still 1.5 games better than the fourth-place Charlotte. GW still has to play the 49ers twice, including the regular season’s finale Nov. 9 at Smith Center.

Sunday’s game was Saint Louis’ seventh straight win. During the stretch, the team has managed to maintain momentum from game to game – something Colonel said is difficult to do in volleyball. After the game, a Saint Louis player said GW is “better than that,” referring to the uninspired effort Sunday. Brown agreed.

“I’m feeling great about our team – I always feel great about our team,” said Brown with a smile. “We always bounce back and I think we are more than capable of bouncing back.”

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