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The GW Hatchet

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Women’s volleyball beats Saint Louis in straight sets

Senior outside hitter Rachael Goss spikes the ball in a match earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster
Senior outside hitter Rachael Goss spikes the ball in a match earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster

Up two sets to zero against St. Louis, but down by seven points in the third set Friday, the women’s volleyball team had two choices.

Either they could ease up on the pressure, hand the Billikens the set, and look to take the match in the fourth, or they could fight their way back into contention and make Saint Louis earn it.

The Colonials chose the latter.

With the score 12-5, head coach Amanda Ault called a timeout, believing her team could have gotten comfortable up two sets in the match, and told them to clean up their play, limit the errors, and “stay steady.”

“From there, they kind of chipped away at it, didn’t get scared, and just kept going at it and pulled it out,” Ault said.

GW would rally from seven down and go on a 14-7 run to tie the match at 19. From that point, the Colonials pulled ahead and would take six of the next nine points to win the set and match 25-19, 25-17, 25-22.

The win was crucial for a GW team that was grasping onto third place in the conference standings after dropping their match to Rhode Island last Friday. The victory officially cements the third place position for GW in next weeks Atlantic 10 tournament at the Smith Center.

“It’s good to be able to come here, especially on the road, and take care of things,” Ault said.

Entering Friday’s contest, the Bilikens were the top hitting team in the conference, ranking first in both hitting percentage (.226) and kills per set (13.28). Saint Louis had also held a three-game winning streak with wins coming against URI and conference leader VCU.

But Friday, the Colonials beat the Bilikens at their own game, stifling their attack at the same time. St. Louis hit just .181 in the match, while GW hit an impressive .326.

Ault credits the success to her team’s ability to execute her game plan.

“This team executed our scouting report phenomenally tonight,” Ault said.  “We thought we knew what they wanted to run in different rotations so we worked on that, we talked about it today, about just being really vocal, making sure that they know who they had, they know what they wanted to take away from them, and know which way their hitters wanted to go, and they did that.”

GW was led by junior outside hitter Kelsey Newman who paced the Colonials with 12 kills on just two errors. Maddy Doyle tied the game high in digs with 11.

Next on tap for GW is its final regular season match versus Dayton, who after beating George Mason Friday have amounted a three-game winning streak of their own. The Colonials beat the Flyers for the first time since 2002 on Nov. 1, and will be looking to close out the season strong before making preparations for tournament play.

GW travels to Ohio to play Dayton Sunday at 2 p.m.

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