Volleyball downs Coppin State to capture fourth-straight win

Media Credit: Max Wang | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior setter Jaimeson Lee sets the ball during a match against Coppin State. The Colonials beat the Eagles to sweep the weekend's tournament.

Volleyball dropped Coppin State (2–12) in three-straight sets (25–22, 25–17, 25–17) to finish off a 3–0 weekend at the Dig the District Invitational Saturday afternoon at the Smith Center.

The night’s victory extends GW’s win streak to four games after the Colonials downed Alabama A&M and Morgan State Friday in the first day of the tournament. GW’s second game Saturday was canceled after teams were unable to travel to D.C. due to Hurricane Florence.

The Colonials (6–5) hit for a .267 attack percentage in the first set and a .258 attack percentage in the second set. Overall, they racked up 40 kills on 100 attempts with just 16 errors (.240). GW held the Eagles to a .038 clip in the contest – marking its best defensive performance of the season. Four Coppin State hitters held a negative attack percentage.

For a team that has struggled with attack errors this season, the Colonials’ relatively clean performance Saturday afternoon was encouraging to head coach Sarah Bernson, who said unforced errors have been “troubling” for the team.

“We had less unforced errors,” Bernson said. “If you look at our stat line, you’ll see that there are some hitting errors, but none of those were on blocks. That’s progress for us.”

On the other side of the net, the Eagles committed 27 errors.

The Colonials led from the start in the first set, sprinting out to leads of 9–5 and then 16–10 before pulling away for good. They tallied 14 kills in the first period behind a balanced attack from senior middle blockers Alexis Lete and Kelsey Clark and junior outside hitters Skylar Iott and Jordan Young. Each player tallied at least three kills apiece.

Young said much of the team’s success came from the strong play of defensive libero duo freshman Bella Bowman and sophomore Sydney Welch. Bowman finished with 15 digs in the match.

“Bella did a great job of being in the places she needs to be on defense, and just really sticking her passes – she was really good about that,” Young said.

After a first set that saw no ties and no lead changes, the two squads engaged in a back-and-forth second set that saw four ties and two lead changes.

GW stormed out to a quick 5–1 advantage before the Eagles responded with a 5–1 run of their own to tie the game at six. On the following point, Coppin State took its first lead of the game on a service ace by Chelsie Kolibar.

The score was knotted three more times as both sides exchanged counterpunches through the middle of the set.

After breaking a 10–10 tie, the Colonials seemed to take control of the match and never looked back. Their best 10 minutes on the hardwood propelled them to a 22–14 advantage, their largest of the day. Iott and Young both earned five kills in the set.

“In some cases, we did let them get on some runs and that comes down to discipline,” Clark said. “I thought we were good but we are never content with our performance, and we still want to think forward and improve.”

The Colonials had momentum on their side heading into the third set. After a back-and-forth start, kills by Lete and junior setter Jaimeson Lee propelled the Colonials to a 3–0 run, forcing Coppin State to call a timeout with the Eagles facing a 17–13 deficit.

The onslaught did not let up. A 10–2 run, propelled by four block assists by sophomore middle blocker Callie Fauntleroy, put away the visitors for good. At match point, the scoreboard read 24–14 in favor of GW.

Coppin State rattled off three consecutive points to keep the game at match point, but Fauntleroy ended the set – and the match – with her first kill of the night.

The three-game sweep extends GW’s win streak to four games heading into Atlantic 10 play.

GW will be back Friday at 7 p.m. to open conference play at home against Saint Louis.

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