The Colonials (12-10, 6-3 A-10) had a strong offensive showing in the first match but could not keep their momentum going from the first match as the Rams (9-11, 3-6 A-10) managed to win the second, third and fourth sets of the first match with a bolstered offense. The Rams snapped a six-game Colonials win streak, grabbing their third A-10 victory of the season.
The two matches were drastically different, with GW firing on all cylinders on offense in the first and outpacing Fordham in kills 48-32 before the script flipped in the second match. After GW took the first set in the second match by 9 points, the Rams responded in force.
“Fordham changed some things and I think they upped their game and hit back,” Head Coach Katie Reifert said. “We really didn’t make the adjustments quickly enough.”
GW jumped to an early 5-0 lead in the first set of the first match, with sophomore outside hitter Salem Yohannes serving to start off the game. Fordham managed to fight back and tie the set at 13, just before a 4-point GW run.
The Colonials kept the set under control from there, registering a match-high 17 kills as a squad and closing the set out 25-22.
The second set got off to a similar start, with GW jumping to an early 5-2 lead off of two kills from junior opposite Liv Womble. Womble, the season leader in kills for the Colonials, would go on to score 18 kills in just three sets, threatening her career high of 20 that came across a five-set span
“She played well,” Reifert said. “She’s got a great connection with our setters. They’ve been working on that. I think she understood the opponent and what they were trying to do defensively and really took it to them.”
The Colonials kept Fordham at an arm’s length in the second set, holding a lead of at least 4 until the Rams went on a 7-3 run to tie it at 23. GW exercised their second timeout of the set to regroup, then closed it out with two straight scores, extending their match lead to 2-0.
The third set kept much tighter while the Rams did their best to avoid the sweep. Graduate middle blocker Tierra Porter scored the second and third points of the set, stuffing Fordham at the net and launching a cross-court spike to put GW up 3-0.
The Rams evened up the set at 7 before GW went on a 10-4 offensive run of to establish a 17-11 lead. Freshman setter Dilara Elmacioglu fed both Womble and sophomore outside hitter Brittany Myers all night, racking up a match-high 27 assists.
Tierra Porter closed out the third set and the match for the Colonials with a powerful spike to make it 25-21.
The first set of the second match proved to be the most lopsided of the series, with the Colonials leading by as many as 13 points. The Colonials notched a .290 hitting percent compared to the Rams’ .194 percent, while also marking an increase from the Colonials’ game average of .184.
The second set featured the first lead of the entire series for Fordham, as they jumped to an early 10-5 advantage. The Rams extended their edge all the way to ten, commanding the set at 22-12.
GW managed a small comeback, but Fordham took the second set by a score of 17-25 after Meyers was denied at the net to even the match at one apiece.
Early in the third set, Fordham junior outside hitter Whitley Moody spiked the ball to the middle with force to tie it at 7-7. The Rams went on a 7-0 run to take control of the set, leading 14-7.
GW’s hitting percentage fell to just .059 percent, and the Colonials could only net nine kills while committing seven errors. Fordham closed out the third set with a textbook bump, set, spike to win it 25-16.
Early in the fourth set, the lead changed often and reached a deadlock at 16 after a Fordham timeout. But the Rams’ offense proved to be too much for a GW defense already on its heels as they went on a 9-5 run to close out the match and the series.
While GW displayed some of its best offense of the season in the first match, they failed to replicate that success in the second, and Fordham capitalized.
“I know we have the skills,” Reifert said. “It comes down to being able to execute the game plan even when we aren’t feeling our best.”
GW will face A-10 rival Dayton in a two-game road series on Oct. 21 and 22.