GW Volleyball Tops UMBC in Five-Set Thriller

Junior Jamie Armstrong hit a career-high .591 with 13 kills in GW's 3-2 win over UMBC on Wednesday night.
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WASHINGTON - The George Washington volleyball team squandered a 2-1 lead before rallying for a decisive fifth-set victory over visiting UMBC, 3-2, in the Colonials' home opener on Wednesday night at the Charles E. Smith Center. Set scores were 25-15, 19-25, 26-24, 16-25, 15-7.

GW (2-6) runs its home record under head coach Amanda Ault to 13-1 with the victory and now has a record of 35-10 on Tex Silverman Court over the past five seasons.

The Colonials opened the match by hitting .414 with just two attack errors in the first set. Senior Lauren Whyte led the team with hot hitting throughout the set, collecting six kills in the opening frame against zero attack errors.

The Colonials held a slim 8-6 lead early before rattling off a 14-5 run to extend their lead to 22-11. Three consecutive points by UMBC (2-7) were interrupted by a kill from freshman Margarethe Skjelbred. A few plays later, junior Rachael Goss put down a kill to clinch the set, 25-15.

UMBC forced seven attack errors in the second set and totaled three service aces and two team blocks to tie the match at one set apiece with a 19-25 win. The teams battled through seven ties and two lead changes in the second set before the Retrievers clinched the frame with a service ace.

The Colonials roared back to regain a 2-1 advantage in the match via healthy ball distribution. Four different players totaled at least three kills in the third set, led by Whyte's four terminations. The Colonials held leads at 14-10, 20-17 and 22-20, but the Retrievers continued to battle back, eventually staving off set point to tie the score at 24-24. A kill by Whyte gave GW a one-point advantage at 25-24 and the Colonials were able to clinch the set on an attack error from UMBC.

The Retrievers played a near-flawless fourth set while forcing 12 Colonials' attack errors to cruise to a 25-16 victory and force a decisive fifth frame. The teams were tied 13-13 midway through the set, but the Retrievers rattled off 11 consecutive points to build a 24-13 advantage. The Colonials attempted to establish a comeback, but failed, allowing UMBC to take the fourth, 16-25.

The Colonials played like an entirely different team in the final set, swinging a match-high .556 with just one attack error. GW built a 9-4 lead before closing on a 6-3 run to clinch the match. Redshirt junior setter Jessica Lubic shined in the final frame, putting down three kills and tallying seven assists.

Whyte finished with a match-high 19 kills against three errors in 53 attempts for a .208 attack percentage. She added 13 digs for her second double-double of the season and 34th of her career.

Junior Jamie Armstrong swung a career-high .591, registering 13 kills with zero errors in 22 attempts. She added four digs, four service aces, two assists and two block assists. Goss also recorded a double-double, the fifth of her career, with 10 kills and 10 digs.

The Colonials registered a season-high nine service aces led by Armstrong's four. Lubic added two winners from the service line to go with a season-high 56 assists and 16 digs for her second double-double of the season. Senior Christie Graf posted two aces of her own along with six digs.

Defensively, the Colonials had five players finish with double-digit digs, led by 17 from senior Candace Silva-Martin. Freshman Maddy Doyle added 13 digs and two assists.

For the match, GW hit .170 (61k-30e-182a) while the Retrievers swung .151 (46k-21e-166a). The Colonials registered season-high totals in aces (nine), digs (82) and blocks (9.0).

GW returns to action on Friday afternoon at the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational hosted by the University of Maryland. The Colonials will face their third ranked team of the 2012 season in No. 16 Tennessee on Friday evening at 5 p.m., before facing the host Terrapins and Boston College on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.



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