The good news for women’s volleyball senior Abby Syverson was that last weekend’s trip to the Diet Coke Classic served as a homecoming for the Minneapolis native. The bad news was that her team dropped all three of its matches in the event.
The road trip proved to be a challenging one for GW (3-3), which entered the two-day event undefeated but left it at .500 after playing some of the toughest competition in the nation.
In their first match of the tournament, against No. 11 Iowa State on Friday, the Colonials lasted just over an hour, falling in straight sets by scores of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-15.
Despite the loss, head coach Jojit Coronel said he was proud of his team for “learning how to identify the little plays that needed to be taken care of” on the court.
Things did not get any easier Saturday when GW had to face the event’s hosts, No. 9 Minnesota, as the Colonials quickly found themselves once again on the wrong side of a sweep to the tune of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-16.
GW took the floor again later that afternoon in its final match of the weekend, a tight fight with Auburn in which none of the four sets were decided by more than four points. The Colonials managed to pick up a set against the Tigers, but ultimately fell 3-1 to complete their rough weekend.
“The team played extremely well against Auburn’s big block,” Coronel said, adding that “sophomore setter Alyssa Valentine did a great job distributing” against the Tigers.
Given the quality of the Colonials’ opponents, Coronel said he was impressed with his squad’s performance and that the experience could be built upon as the team moves forward.
“Our team played well in spite of the pressure to win,” he said. “They took away some things they need to take care of for the future.”
On a more personal level, Syverson also took away a positive experience from the weekend as she was welcomed and cheered on by her old friends and family, most of whom had never seen her play before.
“It was a lot of fun to play in that same arena,” she said.
GW will continue its travel-heavy nonconference schedule this weekend with a trip to Philadelphia for another trio of matches against UMBC, Princeton and Villanova.
The Colonials are “excited to play Villanova and hungry for wins,” Syverson said. And after the pressure and quickness of taking on some of volleyball’s best in Minnesota, she said they’re more confident to boot.