The second time was a charm for GW’s volleyball team. Despite losing at Charlotte a week and a half ago, the Colonials proved they belonged in the Atlantic 10 tournament with an impressive win at home against the 49ers Friday on Senior Night. GW won 3-1 (30-20, 30-21, 25-30, 30-25) in front of 212 fans at Smith Center.
“It’s a relief, going to the A-10 tournament, only because we had three opportunities to solidify (an appearance in the tournament) and we sort of squandered them,” head coach Jojit Coronel said. “We’ve been playing great volleyball the last two weeks. We lost to Charlotte and we lost to Fordham, but we played awesome (tonight).”
Coming into the game against Charlotte, the Colonials (13-16, 5-8 A-10) lost three straight matches and were on the verge of missing the A-10 tournament, something that seemed impossible a few weeks ago. Not only did Friday’s win finally give the Colonials a postseason, but it also gave the team some momentum to bring with them to Charlotte, where the tournament is held.
“I feel prepared because this is a solid win and we played with a great team effort,” Coronel said. “The A-10 tournament is like March Madness. Anything can happen. We have to play great volleyball. Volleyball is a game of momentum (and) we have to stay confident.”
Senior Janine Brown led GW with a match-high 25 kills and 29 points in her last game at Smith Center. At times, Brown appeared dominant – as she regularly has during her four-year career – using a mix of violent outside shots and nimble digs.
“Janine has been a leader throughout this whole year. She is one of the best outside hitters in our whole conference,” Coronel said.
The 49ers sprang to life in the third set after losing the first two sets. Cori Dayton (18 kills, 8 digs) and Alma Arroyo (16 kills, 6 digs) led Charlotte’s charge. In the end, it may have been Arroyo’s match-high 11 errors that helped the Colonials capture the fourth set.
After the match, Brown and GW’s other two seniors, Jess Buche and Erica Williams, were honored at the team’s emotional Senior Night ceremony. The players were lauded for their leadership and dedication throughout their college careers.
Colonel said he was proud to see his players honored but also liked the event for an entirely different reason.
“We played with a lot of confidence,” he said. “We should have Senior Night every night.”