This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist
The volleyball team took the floor Friday night with an opportunity to stay undefeated in conference play by beating one of the conference’s best, Saint Louis.
But the Colonials succumbed to the same song and dance that has plagued them in tight matchups this season: a lack of consistency and unforced errors, which handed GW its first conference loss, 3-1 (8-25, 20-25, 25-17, 24-26).
“I am disappointed in what happened out there, simply because we didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to win the match,” head coach Amanda Ault said.
Saint Louis bested GW in the first set with its strong defense, outperforming the Colonials in digs, block assists and team blocks. The Billikens’ defensive stand and efficient hitting led to a GW attack percentage deficit of .281 to 0.88. The Colonials gave up 10 attack errors on just 34 total attempts in the set.
GW’s slipshod execution carried into the second set, which was marked by miscommunication on the floor. After a rally in the latter part of the set, a Saint Louis attack could not be recovered by the Colonials after three players dove for the ball. Ensuing back-to-back kills by Saint Louis combined with a service and attack error by GW propelled Saint Louis to a 2-0 match lead.
At one point in the game, three GW players tried to go for the same ball and Ault said the players need to improve their communication.
“Our focus got away from us, which led to us questioning what are responsibilities are and what we are supposed to take care of,” Ault said. “We need to do a better job of troubleshooting during the match and figuring out how a player can help her teammates out and how she can make it easier, instead of getting frazzled or frustrated.”
GW appeared to make some adjustments in the third set, which Ault described as a “mentality switch.” The Colonials commanded a lead for the entire set, similar to Saint Louis’ success earlier on. A much more active GW team forced 10 Saint Louis attack errors, outnumbering its nine overall kills.
“It wasn’t a conversation about what we needed to do better,” junior setter Jordan Timmer said. “We need to stay more consistent because when we were playing our game in the third set, they had no chance.”
Timmer finished the match with 44 assists and a match high .400 assist percentage.
GW and Saint Louis went back-and-forth in the match’s fourth set, with neither team able to take more than a three-point lead. The teams tied it up nine times and broke away from each other four times. The set, and ultimately the match, would come down to a 24-24 tie late, but back-to-back points by the Billikens cemented the match win.
Osuchukwu, senior outside hitter Kelsey Newman and sophomore Loren Williams each completed the game with double-digit kills. Osuchukwu led the team with 15 kills, while Newman and Williams followed with 14 and 10, respectively. As the Colonials move on to Saturday’s match against A-10 leader Dayton, Ault said the team needs to be more proactive against top contenders.
“From this point forward, we’ve put ourselves in the position that we’re going to be the hunted,” Ault said.
The Colonials will take on the Flyers on Saturday in the Smith Center at 7 p.m.