GW Volleyball Falls to Pitt in Season Opener, 3-1

Freshman Maddy Doyle finished with a match-high 17 digs and five kills in her first collegiate game.

Aug. 24, 2012

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The George Washington volleyball team opened its 2012 season on Friday afternoon, but fell to Pittsburgh, 3-1, in the first match of the Mortar Board Invitational at Purdue's Holloway Gymnasium. Set scores were 20-25, 25-15, 21-25, 17-25.

The Colonials will continue the tournament on Saturday with matches against No. 9 Purdue (12 p.m.) and No. 21 Northern Iowa (5 p.m.).

GW (0-1) had three players with double-digit kills, led by senior Lauren Whyte who finished with 14. She had only five attack errors to go with eight digs and two blocks (one solo, one assist) for a team-high 15.5 points. Junior Jamie Armstrong added 10 kills, three blocks (one solo, two assist) and two service aces while sophomore Kelsey Newman contributed 12 kills, four digs and one ace.

The Colonials got off to a slow start in the first set, hitting just .048 on the way to a 20-25 loss. Pittsburgh (1-0) opened the match by swinging .235 in the frame and was paced by outside hitter Monica Wignot, who totaled six of her match-high 16 kills in the set.

GW rebounded in the second set, sprinting out to a 5-1 lead that they would eventually extend to 22-11 before tying the match with a 25-15 win. The Colonials' defense limited the Panthers to a .024 attack percentage while recording two blocks and forcing seven errors. Whyte was particularly effective in the second set, leading the way with six kills and four digs.

Statistically, the Colonials' best offensive set came in the third where they swung .333 (15k-4e-33a) and were led by Newman's six kills. However, Pitt responded by recording 16 kills against just three errors for a .419 attack percentage. The teams battled through five ties and two lead changes throughout, before Pittsburgh pulled away for a 25-21 win to take a 2-1 lead.

The Colonials struggled in the fourth set as they suffered 10 attack errors and two receiving errors. Conversely, Pittsburh hit .212 and recorded five blocks on the way to a match-clinching 25-17 victory.

For the match GW had 46 kills with 26 errors in 160 attempts (.125) while Pitt notched 50 kills with 21 errors in 140 attempts (.207).

GW had three freshmen in its starting lineup in Maddy Doyle, Margarethe Skjelbred and Jessica Lubic. Doyle proved her worth as an all-around threat for GW, totaling five kills and game-high 17 digs. She also added two service aces and two blocks (one solo, one assist) in her collegiate debut.

Skjelbred appeared in four sets and notched two kills while Lubic facilitated the attack with 32 assists along with three kills and three digs.

Following the match, the Mortar Board awarded academic awards to each team for exemplary performance in the class room. Whyte won the award for "Highest GPA" while junior Jess Burr was honored as "Most Improved GPA". Senior Candace Silva-Martin was honored with the "Community Service Award".



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