Updated: Oct. 14, 2017 at 4:35 p.m.
Self-inflicted wounds made the difference in a tight battle at the Smith Center Friday night.
Volleyball had more kills and digs than VCU, but its 26 attack errors and nine service errors made the difference.
The Colonials (6-16, 2-4 A-10) stayed with the Rams (20-2, 6-0 A-10) – the top team in the Atlantic 10 – for much of their matchup, but consistently faltered late in sets and eventually fell 3–0.
GW led at the 15-point mark in each of the three sets but could not see those leads through to victories.
“We’re in it until about point 17, but it’s a game to point 25 or further,” head coach Sarah Bernson said.
The loss drops the Colonials to eighth place in the A-10 and out of a spot in the six-team conference tournament if the season were to end now, although Bernson said she remains optimistic about her team’s chances.
“We want to go to the A-10 Tournament, that’s our goal,” she said. “We’re right on the cusp of getting in one of the top six to go to the tournament. We have to win the games we have to win, and if we can win these kinds of games it’s going to make the path smoother.”
GW struggled to defend at the net early in the match, getting out-blocked 12.5-5.
The first set began as a neck-and-neck battle from which GW initially emerged on top, taking a 6–4 lead. The next point was particularly contentious, a prolonged rally that VCU was able to win. This signaled a change in momentum in favor of the Rams, who ended up taking an 11–8 lead.
Following a timeout, GW took a narrow 14–13 lead, one that would be short-lived. VCU responded with a timeout of its own and grabbed five out of the next six points.
The Colonials managed to get within one point of VCU but fell short as the Rams took the first set, 25–22.
The second set was even more frenetic than the first, as GW continued to make errors. VCU appeared to be in control, until Colonials outside hitter Skylar Iott served a game-tying ace to the Rams’ back left corner. Her following two serves proved to be just as effective, putting the Colonials ahead by three points.
“Our focus on serving within practice this week really helped,” Iott said. “Aggressive serves keep a team out of system.”
The Colonials were high on confidence as they built a 13–9 lead, causing the Rams to spend a timeout. A kill from junior outside hitter Kelsey Clark kept the Colonials’ advantage at four until VCU got two back to put the score at 14–12 in favor of GW.
Just as it seemed that VCU was turning the set around, freshman libero Sydney Welch dove down for a difficult dig. Her defensive action turned into an offensive one as the ball ricocheted off of her arms and over the net to increase the lead to three.
Good blocking from VCU after their timeout led them back into contention, leveling the set at 16. The Colonials would lead for the final time in the set at 20–19, as VCU edged ahead and won 25–21.
The Rams were decidedly more dominant in the early stages of the third and final set, leading 13–9 before a GW timeout. A late VCU block put an exclamation point on the evening as the Rams scored once more and finished the game with a 25–20 set win.
The Colonials will host Davidson Saturday at 5 p.m. before heading out on a brief road trip next week.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Saturday’s game is against Dayton at 1 p.m. It is against Davidson at 5 p.m. We regret this error.