Turning in a full team effort, the GW volleyball team was clicking on all cylinders this past weekend as they won all three of their matches of the Towson Invitational tournament in Towson, Md.
GW (8-4) swept Ball State and Penn in consecutive 3-0 wins to begin the tournament, then edged Towson in the final game to win the event.
Though there were many strong contributors in the Colonials’ trio of wins, the standout performer was sophomore setter Alyssa Valentine, who earned tournament MVP honors.
“She’s just been playing really well all around,” said senior co-captain Abby Syverson. “She’s a spark on the court and someone that really has the winning attitude that will help us get more wins this year, and she’s been a key to our success this season.”
Valentine had 36 assists and 11 digs in the win over Ball State while senior Katie Butz added 19 kills. GW won the match with scores of 32-30, 25-20 and 25-13.
Beating Penn in the next game did not prove to be any tougher, as the Colonials won 25-14, 25-18 and 25-23 on the back of Syverson’s 13 kills and freshman libero Candace Silva-Martin’s 21 digs.
Syverson said she believes the biggest key to those two wins was momentum.
“Our game plan was to come out strong, and we executed that really well against Ball State and Penn,” she said. “We got big runs at the beginning, and then our energy really carried us through both of those matches. We had a good practice on Thursday, so we used that to really go after both of those teams.”
GW marched into the championship game with a lot of confidence, but Towson showed they were no pushover. After winning the first set, GW came out flat in the second and lost 25-20. Towson went on to win the third set as well, which gave them all the momentum going into the fourth set with a chance to win the tournament.
“It was just a matter of re-focusing,” said Syverson. “There was no way we were gonna lose that match. We buckled down and decided as a team that we’re not gonna let them have the energy and control on the court. We had a couple of big runs and that was the deciding factor to the match.”
The Colonials had one of those big runs to win the fourth set, as they went on an 8-1 run to end the set after breaking the 17-17 tie. GW then cruised through the fifth set with a 15-8 victory.
As Valentine earned tournament MVP, Butz and freshman Lauren Whyte were named to the all-tournament team.
GW has won five of its last six matches and will look to carry over this weekend’s momentum in conference play Friday at La Salle.