The opportunity to carry momentum through a weekend of league competition was ripe for the Colonials.
Heading into Saturday’s game against VCU, the Colonials were coming off a 3-0 win over A-10 foe Charlotte and had looked strong in their A-10 opener. Senior Lauren Whyte led all players with 13 kills, and redshirt freshman Jessica Lubic tallied 34 assists. The match was marked by a strong defensive effort from GW, holding the 49ers to a .075 attack percentage on the night.
But the Colonials returned to the Smith Center to take on new league addition VCU Saturday, finding themselves up against a tough conference foe for the final match of a five-match home swing. GW struggled to find a consistent offensive attack, as the Rams took advantage of some mental errors by the home team on the way to a convincing 3-0 sweep of GW (4-12, 1-1 A-10). The Colonials were held to a .087 attack percentage; the Rams registered a commanding .326.
“The biggest thing is us taking care of us. We did that [Friday] and we failed to do that [Saturday],” head coach Amanda Ault said. “We could never get anything going.
The first set was the most competitive, even after the Colonials fell behind 14-9, forcing Ault to take an early timeout to settle her team. GW then fought back to tie the game at 18 apiece, but ultimately dropped the set, 25-22. In the second set, it seemed like the Colonials lost some attention to detail. Minor mistakes added up on the scoreboard as GW faltered in its attack, losing 25-12.
The disappointing play, Ault said, had its roots in a stale Colonial offense, one that failed to establish a solid pattern of play on the team’s home court.
“We talked about the scouting report [and] we knew that they had big blocks,” Ault said. “We knew that was something that was one of their strengths. We needed to pass the ball well to run our offense and effect that, and we never got it going.”
Unlike the first two sets, the Colonials jumped out to an early lead in the third, looking more focused as they quickly tallied a 9-5 advantage. But the VCU attack could not be quieted: The Rams soon regained ground, registering a .323 attack percentage en route to the 25-20 match-clinching set.
The Rams boasted 10 players on their roster who are listed as six feet or taller, a height advantage that contributed to GW’s difficulties on its offensive attack. While sophomore Landon Garvik led the Colonials with nine kills, and Lubic tallied a team-high 27 assists, the redshirt freshman said her team’s performance showed a need for GW to relax and present a more cohesive unit on the court.
“I think that our team just needs to work on being more steady and working together all of the time,” Lubic said.