Women’s volleyball kicks off season with pair of losses

Media Credit: Jordyn Bailer | Assistant Photo Editor

The team enters the season under the leadership of new Head Coach Katie Reifert, an alumna looking to rebuild the program after it only managed two wins during a lackluster season last fall.

Women’s volleyball kicked off its season with a pair of losses this weekend after the team’s offense struggled to keep up with the pace of scoring from its opposition.

The Colonials opened the season at the D.C. Challenge, a volleyball tournament including all D.C. schools and other nationwide collegiate teams, with a 3-0 loss against the New Orleans Privateers Friday before a 3-1 loss against American Saturday. The team enters the season under the leadership of new Head Coach Katie Reifert, an alumna looking to rebuild the program after it only managed to muster two wins during a lackluster season last fall.

Here is a recap of the first two games of GW’s regular season play:

Match 1
The Colonials lost in straight sets against the Privateers (1-0) as the New Orleans team held a stronger offensive, delivering eight aces that doubled the Colonials’ total. GW ended the evening with a .117 attack percentage compared to the Privateers’ .163 percentage, but the Colonials tallied six more kills with a total of 39.

The Colonials failed to execute on the court and outmatch the Privateers, as defensive errors gave way to a sparring difference that GW failed to close from a deficit.

“I think, again, it’s the nerves,” Reifert said in Friday post-game interview. “With all this newness, a lot of work has been going on. So I’m hoping we’re going to be able to settle in and take care of the simple stuff going forward.”

During the first set, the Colonials built a 5-3 lead after a spike from middle blocker Tierra Porter and a strong performance from opposite Liv Womble built early momentum for the squad. The Colonials’ upper hand was short-lived as the Privateers roared back with a 5-13 run that turned into a 16-10 lead for the New Orleans team.

Both sides continued to trade points back and forth before a dig by GW freshman libero Amina Robinson set up outside hitter Elizabeth Drelling for a massive spike from the back corner that cut the Privateers’ lead to just three points. A clutch spike by sophomore opposite MC Daubendiek led New Orleans to call a late timeout at the end of the first set.

The Colonials scored once more after the break with a kill by middle blocker Addie Feek at the 23rd minute to bring the score to within three, but it was not enough to overcome the gap. The Privateers finished the set on top 25-22, a narrow difference that would set the theme for the night.

“In terms of working the ebbs and flows of the game, working together in unison, that’s kind of where we missed tonight,” Reifert said. “I think there were a lot of opportunities where we could have taken advantage of some simple volleyball.”

The second set started with an early Privateers lead of 7-2, aided by three attack errors from the Colonials. GW responded with a nine-point run that tied the game at 11 following a blocked spike by middle blocker Olivia Harrison, leading to another timeout by the Privateers.

The Colonials trailed by three points when Harrison delivered another powerful strike to knot the game at 23. An errant GW spike and an out-of-bounds shot near the top of the net allowed the Privateers to nab the second set 25-23.

GW grabbed its largest lead of the night during the final set with a 7-2 lead, but the Privateers responded again, evening the score at eight after four minutes. A block by the Privateers stopped Feek at the net, allowing New Orleans to gain the eighth point and the lead of the match.

The match remained tied at the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th points, but the Privateers prevailed with an 8–4 run that closed out the match and eliminated the Colonials from the tournament.

“I think we have a very new team, we have nine new players,” Refiert said. “So it’s definitely trying to still work through relationships, chemistry on the court, not in terms of how they get along because they get along great. I mean, our team vibes are great, but in terms of working the ebbs and flows of the game, working together in unison, that’s kind of where we miss tonight.”

Match 2
The Colonials hit the road to face off against their crosstown rival, the American Eagles (3-0), where GW fell 3-1 but managed to snag a set in the first road match of the season at the Bender Arena.

The Colonials earned a total of 48 kills, just two fewer than the Eagles, and finished with a .168 attack percentage. Drelling led GW’s offense for the second consecutive night, tallying a career-high 20 kills with a .364 hitting percentage.

The Colonials opened the first set with six early kills, and five errors from the Eagles propelled them to an 11-5 lead in the first minutes. Despite the hot start from the Colonials, the Eagles took control of the match, responding with an 11-1 run and taking the first set.

The Colonials started the second set slow after the Eagles soared with a 6-0 run, but back-to-back kills by Drelling allowed the Colonials to gain momentum and power the GW offense back into contention. GW equaled the score at 13, and a pair of three-point scoring runs gave Reifert her first set win as head coach, 25-21.

The third set began with four kills by Drelling, but they were not enough to overcome a 10-point scoring run by the Eagles that allowed American to gain a 2-1 match advantage.

The American team continued building their advantage to a comfortable 24-21, but GW challenged three match points with three kills before the Eagles responded with three kills, allowing American to finalize their win.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.