Volleyball rolls in home-opening win

The women’s volleyball team continued its strong start to the season, improving to 8-3 with a 3-0 victory over Loyola, Md., in its home opener Wednesday night.

The Colonials dominated throughout the match, rarely trailing the Greyhounds and sweeping the three sets by scores of 25-16, 25-17 and 25-20.

GW dominated the game statistically as well. The Colonials had 54 kills Wednesday night, compared to Loyola, Md.’s 27, and GW hit .234 in the match while holding the Greyhounds to .092.

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Whyte led all players with 17 kills and sophomore Candace Silva-Martin added a team-high 15 digs.

Head Coach Jojit Coronel said his team, which consists largely of freshmen and sophomores and features only five upperclassmen, has shown significant progress this season.

“[This team is] on the cusp of turning a corner,” Coronel said.

Coronel said he hopes his younger players will be “challenged a bit” by the team’s upcoming schedule, which features a game Friday night against perennial power Penn State and the beginning of Atlantic 10 play at the end of September.

One underclassman who has impressed thus far this season is Whyte, who was named Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 6 and was named to the all-tournament teams at both the Cleveland State Invitational last weekend and the D.C. Challenge Aug. 28.

“[The award] was definitely a great honor. It’s pretty cool,” Whyte said of her A-10 Offensive Player of the Week nod.

Like Coronel, Whyte said she’s been impressed by the team’s progress so far this season.

“We have started to mesh as a team. Freshmen come in and work their butt off,” she said.

The schedule gets much tougher for the Colonials later this week when they travel to State College, Pa., for Friday night’s contest against second-ranked Penn State. The game will be the Nittany Lions’ first since losing last Saturday to Stanford, Penn State’s first loss in three years.

“They have weaknesses. We just need to play our game,” Whyte said of the Nittany Lions.

“We will be ready to beat Penn State,” Coronel said. “We have some confidence going in.”

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