GW Volleyball Clinches A-10 Championship Bid With Thrilling 3-2 Win Over Duquesne
Nov. 5, 2011
WASHINGTON - The George Washington volleyball team clinched a spot in the Atlantic 10 Championship field after a thrilling 3-2 victory over visiting Duquesne Saturday night at Charles E. Smith Center. Set scores were 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 31-29, 15-11.
Senior MacKenzie Knox, in her final home contest as a Colonial, was one of three players to finish with double-digit kills as she totaled 10 kills to go along with four block assists. Junior Lauren Whyte posted her seventh double-double of the season with 25 kills and 10 digs, and sophomore Rachel Goss added a career-high 19 kills and six digs.
GW (19-8, 8-5 A-10) got off to a slow start, hitting just .182 while Duquesne (17-10, 7-6 A-10) swung a blistering .379 (16k-5e-29a) to take the first set 25-18.
The Colonials rebounded in the second set as Goss totaled eight of her 19 kills against just one error to lead the team to a 25-16 win to tie the match at one set apiece.
The Dukes once again regained control in the third set as they converted on 80 percent (17-of-21) of sideout opportunities, while holding the Colonials to a .093 attack percentage, on the way to a 25-20 victory.
Facing a one-set deficit for the second time in the match, GW dug deep for a thrilling victory in the fourth set, 30-29. The teams exchanged the lead five times through 12 tie scores and traded points in dramatic fashion in the final moments.
The Colonials served for set point at 24-23 but Duquense's Sara Schierman was able to put down a kill to knot the score at 24-24. The teams proceeded to exchange the lead three times before finding themselves tied at 29-29. With the Dukes serving, redshirt junior Katie Crosby found Goss on the left side for a punishing kill that once again gave the Colonials set point. Goss then proceeded to clinch the set victory with a service ace and force a decisive fifth set for the second night in a row.
Whyte was instrumental in the fourth set as she totaled 12 of her match-high 25 kills against zero errors (.667) to lead the Colonials. Goss added seven of her 19 kills in the fourth frame. Crosby finished with 54 assists and 11 digs for her second straight double-double and 10th of the season.
Much like Friday's match, defense was the catalyst for the Colonials in the final set. GW held Duquesne to a .053 attack percentage and forced five errors en route to a 15-11 victory to clinch the match. The teams fought through three lead changes and five ties in the final set, the last coming at 7-7. GW proceeded to put together a small 3-1 run, using consecutive service aces from sophomore Jamie Armstrong to pull ahead 10-7. GW then closed the match on a 5-4 run to clinch the match.
Armstrong finished with seven kills and four block assists. Sophomore Taylor Knox also contributed four block assists while junior Candace Silva-Martin, the A-10's digs leader, paced the defense with a match high 27 digs.
GW is improves to 5-1 this season in five-set matches and concluded the 2011 season with a 12-1 record at Charles E. Smith Center.
The Colonials will conclude the regular season with a road trip to the northeast next weekend, visiting Rhode Island (Fri., 7 p.m.) and Fordham (Sat., 7 p.m.). The Atlantic 10 Championship will feature take place Nov. 18-20 in Dayton, Ohio. The top six teams in the A-10 standings based on winning percentage will advance to the tournament.