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Women’s volleyball struggles to close out weekend matches

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Sean Hurd.

Freshman Setter Emily Clemens serves the ball in 0the Colonials’ loss against Georgetown on Thursday. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

When a team is looking for a rebound win to get them back on track after a loss, the first opponent that comes to mind likely isn’t the No. 18-ranked team in the country. But that’s what GW got in the North Carolina Tar Heels.

UNC (8-0) looked dominant for most of the match, while the Colonials struggled to string together any offensive runs, and stop the Tar Heels’ attack.

After an up-and-down set of games, the Colonials left North Carolina with a losing record of 1-2 in the Carolina Classic.

In the first set against UNC, the Colonials tallied just 14 points, two by way of UNC service errors, leading to their 25-14 defeat.

The second set, which saw six lead changes and 12 ties, was a complete competitive turnaround for the Colonials. With the score knotted at 23-23, though, GW (4-6) was unable to put the set away, losing the set on consecutive attack errors from outside-hitters Maggie Skjelbred and Racahel Goss.

UNC then made quick work of the Colonials after the set break, holding GW to just 10 points in the final set, winning the set and match by a score of 25-10.

“We were just hot and cold,” said head coach Amanda Ault. “We put ourselves in a hole again early and then they kind of dictated the rest of the match from there.”

On Saturday, the Colonials found the rebound game they had been looking for. GW squared off against Albany, doing to the Great Danes what UNC had done to them the night before.

GW controlled every set of the match, thanks to strong performances on the pin from Goss, freshman outside-hitter Loren Williams, and freshman middle-blocker Chidima Osuchukwu. Goss, Williams and Osuchukwu had nine, 13, and seven total kills, respectively.

Williams performance was most needed as she stepped into the starting role for junior outside-hitter, and leading kills scorer, Kelsey Newman, who is nursing a back injury.

Freshman Emily Clemens also had a huge game at the setter position, posting a double-double with 35 assists and 15 digs. Sophomore libero Maddy Doyle paced the defense with 28 total digs for GW in the match.

Although Albany served as a kind of tune up game for the Colonials, Ault saw the game as being just as important as any other.

“It was good for us, but we always go into each match saying that the next match is the most important match because it’s the next game in front of you,” said Ault. “We wanted to make sure that we were taking care of the things we might have let slip on Wednesday and Friday.”

After the first two sets of the Colonials’ final match against James Madison, having won 27-25 and 25-23, it appeared as if GW had the game in the bag.

But then, the wheels completely came off.

The Colonials slowly retreated back to being error-prone, which has hurt them all season. Over the course of the match, GW tallied 33 attack errors, nine service errors, eight reception errors, and three ball handling errors which contributed to the loss of the next two sets by scores of 25-20 and 26-24.

In the fifth and final set, the Colonials appeared to have regained the momentum jumping out to an early 8-4 lead. But once again the Colonials were unable to close out the set, giving up ten of the next 11 points to a surging JMU ballclub led by freshman Janey Goodman, who had 22 kills for the Duke Dogs.

JMU would eventually win the match on a ball handling error by Newman.

Despite the loss, the Colonials received yet another strong performance from setter Emily Clemens, who had 45 assists in the five set match, while also tallying seventeen digs, five kills and three service aces.

Ault was disappointed, to say the least, after watching her team give up a game that she strongly believes they should have won.

“We had opportunities in the third, the fourth and the fifth [set] to take control of the match, but we never let ourselves have that opportunity. It was completely in our grasp to finish things out and we let things fly,” Ault said.

The Colonials return to action next week in the NIU invitational.

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