Volleyball splits final day at Navy Invitational, gives Maryland first loss

This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Alex Kist

Volleyball’s five-match winning streak came to an end Saturday at the hands of Texas Tech in a 3-1 decision at Navy’s Kristen Dickmann Invitational, but only after the Colonials dealt Maryland its first loss of the season the same morning.

The Colonials (6-4) ended the invitational with a 2-1 record after with junior middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu and senior libero Maddy Doyle both earned a spot on the All-Tournament team. Osuchukwu was named Most Valuable Player after notching 44 kills and 17.0 total blocks across the three weekend contests. Doyle averaged 3.91 digs per set.

“We were serving tough, we were passing extremely well, we just didn’t take care of things on both sides of the net,” head coach Amanda Ault said. “We didn’t do a good job of shutting people down and really didn’t take care of our game plan going in. We played extremely hard, we just didn’t play extremely smart.”

Osuchukwu led all players on the floor with 17 kills, hitting a .378 attack percentage and junior Kristel Moor followed with double-digit kills and a season-high five blocks (one solo, four assists).

The Colonials entered a battle in the first set against the Red Raiders, which consisted of four lead changes and 12 tied scores. At set point, Texas Tech attacked with back-to-back kills to take the set, 28-30.

After dropping the first set, GW struck back in the second. The Colonials began the set by taking a 3-1 lead after a string of three kills, and eventually took a 25-22 set victory by anticipating the movements of Texas Tech’s front line and finding the holes in the floor. Senior middle blocker Maggie Skjelbred led the charge with six kills in the set.

The third and fourth sets were dominated by an aggressive Texas Tech front line, as GW struggled to minimize options for the Red Raiders’ hitters. Texas Tech presented a clean fourth set without error and a hitting percentage of .469 to take the set 25-13.

Senior setter Jordan Timmer defended well and facilitated on offense on GW’s side of the net, tallying her sixth double-double of the season with 47 assists and 12 digs. She also finished the night with two services aces and four blocks (two solo, two assists). On the weekend, she displayed her agility to adjust position quickly and penetrate the net which allowed her to post up for a block.

“For her moving forward, the main focus will be staying consistent and bringing that game day in and day out,” Ault said.

The Colonials opened the tournament with a sweep of Navy, 3-0, on Friday before toppling undefeated Maryland 3-1 to open play on Saturday. Ault said she saw growth from the outside hitters and said freshman Kelsey Clark and junior Loren Williams had good weekends. Ault said that position has been a focus in practice.

Ault said she will try to throw different, difficult situations at players during practice to prepare for this week’s matchups and to focus on getting a good swing on a ball even if the competition manages to get GW out of system.

“Our passing is in a good place and our ball control has never been better, so I want to make sure that stays where it is and keeps progressing,” Ault said.

The Colonials will head to the McDonough Arena to take on Georgetown at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.

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