Head coach Sarah Bernson coached in familiar territory Wednesday night, when her volleyball team traveled up Massachusetts Avenue and faced off against American.
It was her first time coaching against her former team since joining GW this year, after serving as an assistant coach with the Eagles for the previous five years.
The Colonials (6-15, 2-3 A-10) fell to the Eagles (14-7, 5-1 Patriot League) in three straight sets in a match where the visitors did not lead for a single point.
The loss concluded a seven-game road trip where GW went 2-5. They now have only two home games remaining of their final nine.
“There is some comfort of being in your own bed and getting your same routine so I think that’s part of it,” Bernson said. “But to be a good team you have to win on the road.”
Freshman outside hitter Marianna Warren finished the game with a team-high nine kills and sophomore setter Jaimeson Lee tallied a total of 18 assists.
GW swung .188 compared to American’s .389 on the night, and committed 14 errors in the match – twice as many as its opponents.
“We were struggling a little bit getting our middles involved,” senior opposite Kristel Moor said. “So we didn’t really split the net evenly and therefore the entire offense was a little bit easy for them to block.”
The Eagles tallied eight blocks in the match, two more than the Colonials.
The score was tied three times in the opening set, with the more efficient American attack swinging .333 to the Colonials’ .257 and eventually winning 19–25.
“They took a timeout and it was tied and we didn’t reset to the aggressive mindset that we had before,” Bernson said. “They had a run after that timeout and it kind of derailed our thought process and aggressive attitude.”
Senior outside hitter Aaliya Davidson led with three kills in the set, while Lee added seven assists by the end of the first frame.
The second set was the lowest -coring set for the Colonials. GW tallied nine kills to American’s 16 in the set and committed five errors to American’s two in the frame to lose the set 14-25.
“I think we needed to tighten up our ball control in the front row,” Davidson said. “I don’t think we were talking enough.”
GW improved slightly in the third set despite being down 2–0 in the match, attempting to compete at the same intensity as the Eagles.
“We talked about after the second set, moving into the third, that we need to swing more aggressively, because that was really the only thing that was getting American’s defense off balance,” Davidson said.
Despite that, the Eagles opened with five quick points to pull ahead by four points fewer than six serves into the third set, prompting Bernson to call a timeout immediately.
The Colonials trailed by as much as 10 in the third set before a last-minute offensive push chipped away at the Eagles’ lead.
GW held American at match point for four straight points before dropping the final point and losing the set 17-25.
“There are segments where were are playing well, it is just putting it together for longer stretches,” Bernson said. “It is a mental challenge and it is hard, but I believe that they can do it and they want to do it.”
The team returns to action at the Smith Center Friday at 7 p.m. against conference-leader VCU.