This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Sean Hurd.
In a match that stretched four close sets, the women’s volleyball lost its chance for a winning GW Invitational and fell to Ole Miss (25-19, 26-28, 25-20, 26-24).
The matchup was the final game of the Colonials’ host tournament and was the first time these two teams played each other since the 1979 season. GW failed to sustain momentum from earlier in the day, when it beat UMBC.
The match’s first set belonged to the Rebels. Six Ole Miss players had at least three first-set kills, showing no trouble getting past the Colonials’ front line. GW stayed within two points for most of the set, but were unable to consistently score on a tough Rebels defense.
The Rebels ended up winning the set by a six-point spread, with the final kill by way of senior outside hitter Kara Morgan. Morgan, who led the Rebels with 311 kills in the 2012 season, led all players with five in the first set.
Junior Kelsey Newman – the lone GW player named to the all-tournament team – led all Colonials with four first-set kills, while sophomore Maddy Doyle paced the defense with eight first-set digs.
After a disappointing opening set, the Colonials answered with an impressive set of their own. Trailing for the majority of the set, the Colonials were able to creep back into contention due to two service errors and three reception errors by the Rebels. Sophomore outside hitter Maggie Skjelbred made the most of Ole Miss’s mistakes, leading the team with five second set kills and two service aces.
With the match tied at 19, the two teams traded points as neither was able to pull ahead. The set saw 15 tie scores and nine lead changes. With GW up 27-26, the set win was sealed on a service ace by freshman defensive specialist Tyler Ockleberry.
The third set went back and forth, with each team grabbing momentum for a few points, but by the set’s end Ole Miss was locked in. The Colonials surrendered six points to the Rebels on five service errors and a single reception error. They also had 12 third set attack errors to Ole Miss’s 7.
The Rebels, who weren’t necessarily dominating on the attacking end, were led by junior outside hitter Marie-Pierre Bakima who had three third set kills. Newman again led the Colonials with four third set kills and led all players with two third set service aces.
In the fourth and final set of play, the Colonials fought hard in an attempt to force a decisive fifth set. After trailing by as much as four points, the Colonials were able to claw their way back into the game, but much like the third set of play, the Colonials handed the Rebels six points, all on service errors.
With the set tied at 24, the Rebels were able to rally two straight points off an attack error by Rachael Goss and a set that sent sophomore Jordan Timmer into the net. Once again, Bakima led the Rebels in kills with six, while Newman led the Colonials in kills with three.
Doyle finished the match with a career high 23 digs and freshman Chidima Osuchukwu ended the match with seven blocks, while Newman and Skjelbred tallied twelve and eleven total kills, respectively.
The Colonials return to action on Friday when they head to Florida for the UCF Invitational.