Volleyball takes two on new court

The GW women’s volleyball team was given the task of unveiling the new Smith Center court this weekend, hosting two games and playing before the fifth-largest home crowd in program history.

But before the Colonials took the floor, one of their own completed a different task. Junior Leah Hill took the microphone and performed the national anthem before both contests.

“Singing is more nerve-wracking than playing,” said Hill, who has performed the anthem in the past. “But I get my nerves out then go do what I do best.”

With the opening festivities completed, the Colonials then christened the new floor with a pair of sweeps, knocking off Rhode Island 3-0 Friday night and Fordham by the same score Sunday afternoon.

GW (12-5, 3-1 Atlantic 10) beat Rhode Island 25-19, 25-22, 28-26 in their first match of the weekend, which featured a ceremony honoring team alumni between the second and third sets as part of Alumni Weekend festivities. Seniors Katie Butz and co-captain Abby Syverson led the team with 15.5 and 13 points, respectively. Butz scored the match’s first point and Syverson recorded its first block to begin the Colonials’ attack.

Sunday, GW continued its hot streak with a 25-18, 25-17, 25-17 sweep of Fordham, in which Butz had another big game with 12.5 points on 12 kills. Junior Katie Zulandt was an important piece of the puzzle as well, adding 8.5 points of her own.

“Katie Zulandt did a good job attacking and blocking,” head coach Jojit Coronel said after Sunday’s win.

Sophomore Alyssa Valentine had an impressive weekend of her own, with 39 assists Friday and 30 assists and six digs against Fordham.

Next the Colonials will travel to Richmond for a nonconference match-up against Virginia Commonwealth, which Coronel said will serve as an opportunity to get players such as junior Hannah Stuart and sophomore MacKenzie Knox more playing time.

After that, they will continue A-10 play Friday and head to No 21. Saint Louis, GW’s third nationally ranked opponent this season.

Coronel said that despite the quality of their upcoming opponents, the team’s focus remains improving itself.

“The only thing we can control is how good we can get,” he said.

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