The dream of winning the Atlantic 10 tournament this year is over for the GW volleyball team.
The Colonials garnered the third seed in the annual tournament, a result of winning the Eastern side of the conference. GW then swept its first-round opponent, Fordham (3-0) on Friday, but fell to No. 2 seed Dayton University in the semi-finals (0-3), held at Saint Louis University on Saturday. Undefeated No. 1 seed and host Saint Louis defeated Dayton to win the tournament.
Though the Colonials have had better A-10 runs, they have only won the tournament once in the last 10 years: in 2000, when they defeated Dayton in the semifinals, then Xavier to win the title. But this year’s match against Dayton did not go as well, GW head coach Jojit Coronel said.
GW had played Dayton once before this season, in the beginning of October at the Smith Center. Though they lost that match as well, the Colonials managed to secure a game, losing 3-1. Senior outside hitter Liz Moult said the semifinal match was better played, despite the sweep.
“Last time we played them, we stole a game or two, but that was at the beginning of the season. They’ve changed their game and we’ve changed ours,” Moult said. “The level of play was much stronger this time.”
Despite that, the Colonials only recorded 29 kills and had a .108 hitting percentage, around half of the Flyers’ .222 hitting percentage and 41 kills. Moult said the discrepancy in statistics was due to Dayton’s strength: serving.
“They are a very good serving team, and we had trouble with passing and putting balls away,” Moult said. “They had strong hitters, they were an overall solid team, they had good passing, good serving and good hitting, and they ran their system really well.”
But the team isn’t disheartened by its loss. Moult said she was satisfied with her final season at GW.
“It’s hard as a senior to be done, but ultimately we made strides,” Moult said. “Only one team will come out winning. Everyone else is going to end on a loss. I would absolutely say I’m satisfied with how we played this weekend.
And it has been a good season. The Colonials have made improvements from last year, surpassing their 2007 record by six wins, and advancing a round further at the A-10s. With only three seniors departing, they’ve set a strong foundation for next year’s program.
“I think the program is moving in the right direction. We’ve made leaps and bounds in the last two years,” sophomore outside hitter Leah Hill said. “I really think we could have beaten Dayton, and I can’t wait to get another shot at them next year.”
Individually, several players had strong performances. Senior Maggie Wright had nine digs, a team-high, junior Katie Butz hit ten kills and freshman Alyssa Valentine, recently named A-10 rookie of the year after winning six rookie of the week awards, recorded 21 assists.