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The GW Hatchet

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Women’s volleyball team kept from advancing to postseason play

Senior libero Candace Silva-Martin readies a serve midway through the match. Hatchet File Photo by Shannon Brown | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nicholas Ong.

Win and you’re in- that was the situation for GW this weekend.

Despite accumulating a mere 7-6 record in A-10 play, the Colonials came into their final match of the season in full control of their destiny. Win against Duquesne and the sixth spot in the A-10 tournament would be theirs; lose, and it would take a combined two losses from Rhode Island, Butler or Temple for GW’s season to continue.

Unfortunately, none of those scenarios came about, as the Colonials fell to the Dukes 3-1, and both Butler and Temple won their final conference match-ups.

“I thought this was something we could take total control over and something we had the power to take care of,” head coach Amanda Ault said.  “It was in our hands.  I found out quickly, that we do not like to deal with pressure.”

The match began with a 25-20 first set victory for Duquesne, mostly in part to ten attack errors by the Colonials- a trend that would continue for the match’s entirety. GW bounced back a bit in the second set though, hitting their best percentage of the night- .209- to take it 25-22. Despite the set victory, it’s this type of inconsistent play that Ault said was key in the team’s overall loss.

“I think our problem all season long came back,” Ault said. “We didn’t play steady- we played frantic, we played erratic, and then we would figure things out and play well.  So it was really up and down.”

The downs would continue to come for the Colonials, beginning with the third set in which the Dukes took a decisive 2-1 lead, thanks to a 25-20 victory. In the fourth and deciding set, GW finally succumbed to the high amount of pressure that came with this match. On offense they hit an abysmal -.068, committing 14 attack errors compared to just 11 kills.

In the end, the Dukes were able to clinch the set 25-19, winning the match and putting an end to the Colonials’ season.

“After the match everybody was pretty much in disbelief,” Ault said. “We came out and it was probably one of our worst matches of the season, so it was hard to understand when there’s that much on the line, how we came out and performed the way we did.”

Contributing to GW’s offense woes was the tremendous defensive play from Duquesne. Of the 39 attack errors that the Colonials committed, 14 of them came off of Duquesne team blocks. This offensive disappointment, Ault said, was due in most part to a breakdown of ball control and “in the long run, playing scared.”

In her final match as a Colonial, senior Lauren Whyte posted her eighth double-double of the season and 40th of her career, with 19 kills and 18 digs. She will leave GW second on the all-time kills list with 1,625. Fellow senior Candace Silva-Martin added on to her A-10 all-time career digs record with a match-high 21 digs, bringing that record to 2,126.

Moving forward, replacing these two GW legends, Ault said, will be a test of how successful the team can be in the coming years.

“We’re going to miss these guys,” Ault said.  “They’re a big part of what we do, offensively and defensively.  I don’t know if our team really understands the magnitude of losing these guys.  They’re a lot of this program and what we do and it’s hard to see them finish this way.”

Looking back, it was a season plagued by injuries for GW. With two different starting setters leading the team- something due to those many team injuries- a lack of offensive rhythm and consistency was seen all year. That, along with a stronger preseason schedule, put the Colonials in a hole they couldn’t fully get themselves out of.

“I’d say we underachieved this year, there’s no doubt about it,” Ault said.  “But I think we learned a considerable amount and will be able to take this into the years coming up in there’s things we need to work on.”

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