Volleyball struggled against Dayton’s strong presence at the net in a 3–0 loss Friday afternoon at the Smith Center.
The Flyers (21-7, 12-1 A-10) totaled 10 blocks on the game and limited the Colonials (10-19, 6-7 A-10) to a .159 attack percentage.
GW’s defense faltered against Dayton’s offense, which generated 44 kills, while the Colonials struggled to attack past the block. GW tallied four blocks and allowed Dayton to swing .309 on the night.
This is the second loss the Colonials have suffered at the hand of the Flyers this season, snapping the team’s three-game winning streak.
“We didn’t have that mindset that you need to in order to dig a lot of balls and block a lot of balls,” graduate student setter Stacey Benton said. “They ran a fast offense, which we haven’t really seen that much this season, so adjusting to that was a little hard.”
GW was without sophomore setter Jaimeson Lee, who is usually a fixture in their lineup. The team’s response to a new lineup with little preparation was a positive from the night, head coach Sarah Bernson said.
“There was a change and I think there was some uncertainty because we hadn’t really had a chance to practice it,” she said. “The fact that we were doing well for most of the first and second set shows we can handle it.”
A tight first set saw 11 tie scores. Back-to-back Dayton aces gave the Flyers early momentum, but GW bounced back from a deficit and kept the game competitive until the final points. The set was tied until a pair of Dayton kills sealed their 25–23 set win.
Dayton posted big attack numbers in the first two sets, with a game-high 17 in the second frame. The Colonials dropped the second frame 25–21 with the team swinging .231 in the set.
Bernson said Dayton’s middle hitters were especially tough on defenders, which she tried to counter by targeting them on serve-receive.
“We wanted to limit their ability, so if you make them touch the first ball it makes it harder to get them the third ball,” Bernson said.
The Colonials’ energy was visibly lower in the third set, which they lost 25–12 and swung -.094 in the final frame.
“Whichever side has the energy, has the momentum. So I think we lost a lot of points because of our energy,” junior outside hitter Alexis Lete said. “Seeing how we did the first two sets compared to the third one was a really big bummer for us.”
Going into the final game of the regular season Saturday, the team hopes to continue improving and gaining positive momentum into the A-10 playoffs, Bernson said.
“I’m hoping that they’re going to think about this and what they could have done better and come back tomorrow night against Saint Louis and be better,” she said.
The Colonials will host Saint Louis at the Smith Center for senior night Saturday. The first serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.