GW volleyball picks up two league victories in Smith Center

The Colonials knew they needed to capitalize on hosting five straight A-10 matches.

GW earned two victories in its final two games of the home stand this weekend, outplaying Fordham to sweep 3-0 and overcoming a shaky start against Rhode Island Sunday to post a 3-2 victory. The two wins brought the team’s overall record to 15-6.

“It puts us over .500 in conference play,” head coach Amanda Ault said. “We now have a couple of weeks on the road, and we hope to apply on the road what we’ve been able to accomplish at home.”

The Colonials controlled the tempo of Friday’s game over Fordham in front of 1,317 fans – the largest-ever attendance for a GW volleyball game.

Junior Lauren Whyte posted 16 kills and eight digs, and freshman Kelsey Newman put away 12 kills of her own, adding six digs. The Colonials also posted their highest hitting percentage of the year for a single set with .567 in the first set.

“We had a good game plan and we just followed it,” Whyte said. “We knew they were good blockers, so we attacked different shots and were able to get a lot down.”

In the opening set, Fordham couldn’t answer GW’s ferocious offensive attack, tying the score only once en route to a 25-16 set win for the Colonials. The second set saw closer play, with seven different lead changes before GW pulled out a 25-23 victory.

In the final set, in front of a loud, cheering crowd, the Colonials finished the sweep with a 25-17 set win, holding the Rams to a sideout percentage of .41. Whyte said the energy and noise from the fans was the difference maker on the match, boosting GW’s energy on the court.

“They’ve been outstanding,” Ault said about the crowds. “One of our team goals at the beginning of the year was to play well at home, and the crowd sure makes it easier to do that.”

GW got off to a shakier start in Sunday’s match against Rhode Island, dropping the first set 25-13. It looked as if the Colonials were lacking energy on the court, a problem that at first followed them into the second set, before they battled back to earn a 25-22 set victory.

The Colonials continued with more confident play on the match, supported offensively by junior Katie Crosby, who recorded her first career triple double with 11 kills, 41 assists and 10 digs. Though they dropped the third set 25-23, during which two late Ram points squandered a GW rally, the Colonials battled back to earn a 24-21 victory in the fourth set.

“The turning point for us was during a chaotic point in the fourth set,” said Crosby. “I was just barely able to hit a ball over the net. We ended up getting a kill off it though, and then won the next couple of points.”

GW was able to carry its momentum into the deciding fifth set, posting a commanding 15-5 victory. Crosby’s efforts were supported by sophomore Rachael Goss, who posted 12 kills and 11 digs and GW’s all-time digs leader junior Candace Silva-Martin, who scooped 32 digs for the Colonials.

The Colonials next head to Temple Oct. 21, with play scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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