The volleyball team is facing a new season.
After finishing regular season play this past weekend, falling to Rhode Island 3-1 Friday night but outlasting Fordham Saturday 3-2, the Colonials will head to Dayton, Ohio for the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
“Everyone’s back to 0-0,” head coach Amanda Ault said. “Now, it’s win or go home.”
GW (20-9, 9-6 A-10) will be making its first trip to the conference tournament since the 2008 season, thanks to a fourth place finish in the A-10 conference, a step up from their pre-season ranking of sixth place.
“Our goal all along was to be playing in the tournament. Now after winning the last game of the season, it’s good to have that momentum going forward,” Ault said.
That final win almost wasn’t a victory. The Colonials had to fight back from a 2-1 deficit against Fordham after winning the first set 25-15 but dropping the next two, 22-25 and 12-25, respectively.
The Colonials defense stepped up big in the fourth set, holding the Rams to a .000 attack percentage, and leading the way to a 25-19 win. Their energy and aggressive play carried over to the decisive fifth set, where GW emerged victorious, 17-15.
“We needed to stop talking about making changes and physically do something,” Ault said. “So we made some team substitutions and looked to take care of things on our side of the net.”
Junior Lauren Whyte kept the Colonials in the match with 19 kills, while senior MacKenzie Knox and Rachael Goss each posted nine kills. Redshirt junior Katie Crosby set the offensive pace for the Colonials with a match-high 44 assists.
In Friday night’s game against Rhode Island, the Colonials also posted a strong start, winning the first set 25-15 in what Ault said was the best she’d seen the team play.
Despite out-hitting Rhode Island .342 to .296, GW couldn’t remain consistent or focused, and it cost them the next three sets, losing 24-26, 20-25 and 18-25.
“We came out running on all cylinders, executing the game plan and playing handily,” Ault said. “But then we let Rhode Island back in. They put everything together and took the momentum away from us.”
Some bright spots for the Colonials on the loss were Whyte, Goss and sophomore Jamie Armstrong, who all had double-digit kills. Goss led the way with 15, Whyte followed with 14 and Armstrong added 10.
“We accomplished a lot this year,” Ault said. “Now, going into the postseason, we want to be playing at an even higher level.”
The A-10 conference tournament will take place Nov. 18 to 20. Complete seedings are set to be revealed later this week.
This article appeared in the November 14, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.