Volleyball captures a victory after losing first home match

Media Credit: File Photo by Jordyn Bailer | Assistant Photo Editor

The Colonials gained their footing during the second match where they were able to win three out of the four sets played against the Rider team, increasing their offensive play to outshoot their opponent.

The Colonials split a doubleheader hosted at the Smith Center Friday, securing their first home victory in a pair of matches against Binghamton and Rider.

The Colonials (3-6) entered the day with a two-match winning streak after overtaking Long Island University and NJIT in Pennsylvania taking the two matches with 3–2 and 3–0, respectively. The GW team is currently totaling 373 kills, 33 aces and 341 assists after nine matches.

The GW team began the first match of the day with a powerless defensive effort as they were unable to overcome the Binghamton team, failing to win any set during the match. The Colonials gained their footing during the second match, where they were able to win three of the four sets played against the Rider team, improving their offensive play to outshoot their opponent.

“It was just taking care of our side we were, all credit to Rider, they were a very steady team, they did not make a lot of errors,” Head Coach Katie Reifert said in a post-match interview Friday.

Here’s a recap of the two matches:

Match 1
GW fell to Binghamton in straight sets in its first match of the doubleheader. The Bearcats maintained control throughout the match, grabbing early leads and forcing GW to try and claw their way back.

In the first set, Binghamton jumped to a 10–3 lead fueled by an aggressive offensive attack, and both sides traded points before Binghamton went on an 8–6 run and built their biggest lead of the set at 18–9, led by freshman opposite hitter Giulia Bonifacio. The GW defense locked up soon after as the offense pulled to within four, led by two kills from junior opposite Liv Womble.

Binghamton closed it out in what would be the tightest victory of the match at 25–20. The Bearcats notched 15 kills in the set compared to the Colonials’ 13, while maintaining an attack percentage of .324 against GW’s .216.

The second set was tighter early on and knotted up at eight following a four-point GW run with senior middle blocker Addie Feek serving. Mid set, GW’s defense faltered around the net as the Bearcats’ offense regained its footing and took a lead they wouldn’t lose, taking the second set 25–16.

The total kill comparison widened in the second set, with Binghamton scoring 15 to GW’s nine. GW’s attack percentage dramatically dropped to just .036.

The third set was the most dominant for Binghamton, as the Bearcats snatched it 25–14 and closed out the match. GW did their best to keep it close early, but a mid match, 8–3 run by the Bearcats put the match on ice.

“They put the ball on our side of the court over and over and just forced us to mess up,” Head Coach Reifert said.

Liv Womble and junior outside hitter Elizabeth Drelling led the way in kills for GW, scoring nine and eight, respectively. Freshman setter Dilara Elmacioglu topped the assist total for GW at 13.

“I just think that tonight we definitely started out we had people just doing their jobs which allowed everyone to really thrive instead of having to take care of one another,” Reifert said.

Match 2
The second matchup of the day came against the Rider University Broncos who fought the Colonials in a tightly contested match that stretched all the way to five sets.

The first set was tight, and neither squad led by more than four points. GW got the scoring started after Rider sent one soaring out of bounds, jumping to a 3-0 start. Womble showcased her craftiness early, faking a spike and tapping it over the net to regain the lead at 5-4.

GW narrowly held the lead throughout though, never extending beyond four points. Rider racked up 13 kills to GW’s 11 but could not capitalize near the end of the set, finally handing GW their 25th point after an errant serve.

Attendance at the Smith Center spiked from the first match to the second, creating a more intense atmosphere and a spirited match.

“I love playing in the Smith Center because you really feel the crowd right on top of you,” Reifert said. “That’s your home crowd cheering for you, it makes it all the better.”

Rider responded early in the second set, setting the stage for a battle where the lead changed hands seven times. After the Broncos took a 7–5 lead, Reifert called a timeout to regroup.

The back-and-forth action continued before the set tightened when a diving save from Drelling tied it up for the Colonials at 24. Rider managed to take the set after a classic bump, set and spike to make it 27–25, knotting up the match at 1–1. The Broncos notched 21 kills to the Colonials’ 12.

The third set continued the night’s back-and-forth theme as both teams looked to overtake the court but were ultimately unable to finalize the scoring run. The Colonials held a mid-set lead of 14-6, the largest of the night before Rider mounted a 7–1 run to pull it within three. The Colonials anchored around the middle all night with graduate middle blocker Tierra Porter, who managed to block many Rider’s spikes, meeting them at the net repeatedly.

“She steadied in, relied on her teammates a bit more, which allowed her to have a really great night,” Reifert said.

GW closed out the third set narrowly, 25–22, after a battle of blocks at the net that Porter led. The Broncos took the fourth set 25–17 in the largest margin of victory of the night and tied up the match 2–2. The lead went back and forth until Rider began to build a lead they would go on to hold, accumulating 13 kills to the Colonials’ nine.

The fifth and final set led GW to build an early 7–1 lead that Womble led. She guided the match in kills with 13, but the final point came on a block from Feek, which sealed the victory for GW.

The team’s first home win drew massive enthusiasm on the court and in the stands.

The Colonials coordinated the front line attacking players with back line defense players to take control of the court to increase their offense’s response capacity. Reifert said this helped the team play more confidently as they were able to communicate plays with each other.

“I think this was a huge confidence builder for us, just understanding that they played really confidently, our front and back row together,” Reifert said.

The Colonials prepare to take on Coppin State Tuesday, and tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

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