Volleyball's Valiant Effort Comes Up Short in 3-2 Loss to American
Aug. 25, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC -- The George Washington volleyball team nearly pulled off the upset but eventually succumbed to American in five games Saturday night at AU's Bender Arena. Before what is believed to be the largest crowd to witness a collegiate volleyball match in the District of Columbia, 1,516 fans, the Colonials won the first two games of the match by identical 30-28 scores. Then, following the 10-minute break between games two and three, GW somehow lost the momentum that had carried it to two victories in the hostile atmosphere.
"Our passing broke down after the second game," GW head coach Jojit Coronel said after the loss. "That can happen when you are playing a veteran team of juniors and seniors [like AU]. We just sprayed the ball everywhere."
Despite its passing woes, the Colonials managed to serve accurately all night and committed a microscopic three service errors in the five-game match to go with six service aces. AU also served well with 10 aces against eight service errors.
After GW shocked the large crowd by winning the first two games, AU came out determined to get back in the match in game three. After GW went up 3-1, the Eagles took charge and outscored GW 20-6 with a variety of dink kills, aces and blocks. With AU in command at 19-9, Coronel pulled starting setter Jess Buche for back-up Maggie Wright. The Colonials scored three of the next four points before imploding with three hitting errors and a ball-handling error as AU won going away, 30-15.
Buche started game four for GW but more hitting errors doomed the Colonials early as AU sprinted out to a 15-7 lead. GW scored the next six straight points before another hitting error broke the momentum. The teams traded points and GW closed to within 24-20 before AU scored the final six points of the game for the 30-20 victory setting the stage for the decisive game five. After a competitive beginning to game five with AU clinging to a 6-4 lead, the Eagles eventually pulled away and won the match on a pair of kills by Casandra Ricketts and Deborah Frantz.
Last year's DC Challenge MVP, Janine Brown, pounded her career-high 25 kills and had 16 digs for her third straight double-double to start the season. Brown tallied a team-high 26 points in the loss.
Tournament MVP Rubena Sukaj surpassed Brown's offensive outburst with 27 kills and hit .299 en route to a 31-point performance.
AU's 6-foot-8 middle blocker, Claire Recht, also was named to the All-Tournament team after 12 kills for a .528 hitting percentage and six block assists. GW combined to hit .164 (61 kills -30 errors -189 attempts) for match compared to the Eagles' .284 (80-26-190). The Colonials won the battle at the net, however, outblocking the Eagles, 13-12.
GW (1-2) next plays in the VCU Invitational, Friday-Saturday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, in Richmond, VA. GW plays VCU Friday and will face both Liberty and South Carolina on Saturday at VCU.
Final Team Standings:
The 2007 DC Challenge All-Tournament team (as selected by the coaches):