After volleyball’s Tuesday night game at Howard, players said the communication between teammates has to improve if they want to start winning games.
“I just think we need to be dead honest with each other, we have been just going through the motions,” junior outside hitter Kelsey Clark said. “We are talking a whole hell of a lot, but we are not doing anything to back it up and that is what needs to change.”
The Colonials (5-14, 1-3 A-10) dropped their fourth consecutive game in a non-conference match against the Bison (4-13, 1-1 MEAC). GW fell in three straight sets, 25-21, 26-24 and 25-17, swinging .162 lower than its opponent.
“I think our team is just really struggling to push through,” head coach Sarah Bernson. “It is frustrating, it is not a pleasurable experience, but it is the current situation we are in, we are trying to break through our mental barrier right now.”
Both sides came into the match looking to improve on a 13-loss record with Howard seeking to win its first back-to-back games of the season following a win against Delaware State Sunday.
For the Colonials, Tuesday was a break from conference play, which will resume Friday. Bernson said she hoped the game would be an opportunity for the team to improve on its weaknesses.
“We were working on making some changes and trying to get more consistent, so it is disappointing today that we didn’t get that,” Bernson said. “If we are learning lessons and can bounce back then this game can help us in conference.”
Hitting errors were a critical fault for GW, concluding the match with a .155 team attack percentage. Missed kills at various points throughout the game were especially detrimental for the Colonials, occurring at key moments in all three sets.
Clark and sophomore outside hitter Skylar Iott provided the bright spot in the Colonials offense, finishing with 10 kills each. Clark swung .368, improving her attack percentage on the season and standing out in an otherwise error prone offense. No other player had more than five kills in the game.
“A couple players didn’t have great games, so the setters chose to go to Kelsey more so it gave her more opportunities,” Bernson said. “In an ideal situation we would be pretty well rounded, but Kelsey has proven that we can count on her.”
The Colonials began the first two sets competitively, either leading or tying at the 15-point mark.
In the first set, Clark provided consistent offense, but a game-high seven attack errors stunted the Colonials’ momentum, ending Bison runs only to immediately lose the ball due to service errors. After the 15-15 tie, Howard scored six of the next seven points and maintained the lead for the remainder of the game.
The second set had a similar start with back-and-forth scoring until the final points. Towards the end of the match, GW rebounded from a 23–20 deficit to tie the game at 24. A missed kill followed by consecutive Howard kills put an end to GW’s late-game run.
“We did not execute, everyone was like ‘alright let’s finish the game’ but nobody drove us to finish,” sophomore setter Jaimeson Lee said. “We just have to have that desire and that mentality that it’s 24–24 and we can do this.”
Howard finished out the third set with less of a challenge. The Bison’s fourth and final ace put them ahead 15–11, a gap GW could not close for the remainder of the game, eventually losing by eight points.
GW will look to snap its losing streak when they travel to George Mason Friday. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.