Dayton hands volleyball fourth straight loss

The women’s volleyball team knew coming in that Sunday’s match against No. 17 Dayton (Bison/AVCA) was not going to be a walk in the park. The Colonials had faced the Flyers on the road just over a week earlier, riding a five-match win streak and in sole possession of second place in the Atlantic 10.

GW lost that game 3-0 and wasn’t able to find much more success Sunday against the Flyers, losing 3-1 and extending its current losing streak to four games.

The Colonials (17-11, 6-5 A-10) did manage to keep Dayton within reach for much of Sunday’s contest, dropping the first set by two and the second set by six. GW won the third set 25-20 but couldn’t keep its momentum in the fourth set, allowing Dayton to jump out to a 7-3 lead before ultimately losing 25-12.

The Flyers were led by strong offensive performances from Becky Novacek, Lindsay Fletemier and Amanda Cowdrey, who combined for 33 of Dayton’s 56 kills on the afternoon. With the win, the Flyers remained undefeated in A-10 play.

For head coach Jojit Coronel, the way the match ended was especially frustrating.

“There were one or two plays where we could’ve been tougher. We might have let down a little,” he said. “I let the girls know that they could have played a little tougher in the end. We know we are a good team and we are capable of beating teams in our conference. We just have to stay tough on the court.”

Senior Katie Zulandt led GW with 13 kills on 26 attempts. MacKenzie Knox and Lauren Whyte were the only other Colonials with double-digit kills against Dayton.

Like Coronel, Zulandt expressed her anger about the game but said she remained optimistic as the team heads into the home stretch of its season.

“To be honest it is a little frustrating to have come up short but it was an improvement from the last time we played them,” she said. “It is a learning experience, however, we will make the minor changes and be prepared if we face them in the A-10 tournament.”

With Sunday’s loss, GW drops to 6-5 in conference play and currently sits in fifth place in the A-10. Only four matches remain in the season, three of which are against teams ahead of the Colonials in the standings.

The final games of the season will be critical for GW. A loss next Friday to Fordham could jeopardize the team’s chances of making the conference tournament.

“Our number one focus right now is Fordham,” Coronel said. “We are going to rest today and tomorrow, practice Tuesday and prepare for Fordham. We’ll take it one step at a time.”

Mental toughness will continue to be a focus for the Colonials, Coronel said. GW has struggled at times this season to remain focused in the face of adversity, something the Colonials head coach said will have to change if GW is going to be successful for the rest of this season.

“Our biggest problem is toughness on the court,” Coronel said. “Someone from the other team gets a big kill or a good block and we lose momentum. We have to be mindful that it is just one point. Volleyball is an up-and-down game where you score all the time so we have to remind ourselves of that and stay tough.”

GW will look to snap its skid this Friday at the Smith Center against Fordham. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

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