For the GW volleyball team, this season has been all about the Atlantic 10 Championships. Shrugging off tough losses and hard-fought wins, head coach Jojit Coronel was optimistic that each experience would help the Colonials (18-10, 9-4 A-10) prepare for the A-10s.
Judging from this weekend’s results, Coronel’s optimism was grounded in reality. After a Senior Day ceremony celebrating Liz Moult, Jackie Yaniga and Maggie Wright at the Smith Center on Sunday, the Colonials won the Eastern Conference of the league and secured the third seed at A-10s next week.
“It was one of our huge goals from the beginning to win our side of the conference, and it put us in a really great spot for A-10,” Moult said. “So to finally reach that goal – to work hard the entire season to get it – it’s great.”
GW went into this weekend’s matches against La Salle and Temple ranked first in the East, though its record would have placed it fourth in the West division. The Colonials defeated La Salle easily (3-0), but the Temple game (3-1) showcased the Colonial’s Achilles heel: closing games.
The Colonials will face Fordham University in the first round Nov. 21, their third match-up of the season. Though GW won both games, they constituted two of the nine five-game matches the Colonials have played this season.
Fordham is tied for fifth in the conference and, based on history, the game is the Colonials’ to lose.
“It’s going to be really tough, they know that they had to scrape their way into the bottom two, and they don’t have anything to lose,” Wright said. “We just have to go out there knowing that we beat them twice.”
All three seniors said the match would most likely be a battle between the middle hitters, as was the case in previous games. Practice will feature repetitive shots and game analysis of the teams GW will face.
Coronel isn’t worried. At this point in the season, his team has established its identity. Any attempts to drastically alter the team’s approach would likely result in confusion at worst and marginal progress at best.
“The biggest thing is taking care of the little things,” Coronel said. “We’re not going to jump any higher, not going to hit the ball any harder, we just need to study our opponent a little better. We have a few days to do that, and hopefully we’ll come back here with the A-10 championship.”