Women's volleyball cruises to three-set victory against GW
Balanced attack gives AU to its sixth straight win
The AU women’s volleyball team secured a dominant 25-19, 25-14, 25-17 victory over non-conference opponent George Washington Wednesday night in Bender Arena to end their four-game homestand. The Eagles never trailed in any set and controlled the tempo of play throughout to claim their sixth consecutive victory after losing to Navy Sept. 26.
The Eagles (14-7, 5-1 PL) used a balanced offensive approach to keep the Colonials’ defense off-guard and finished the match with a hitting percentage above 0.300 for the sixth consecutive game. Junior outside hitter Aleksandra Kazala and sophomore outside hitter Shannon Webb led the balanced approach with 12 kills each. Kazala, who recorded her 1,000th career kill over the weekend against Lafayette, was honored before the game to commemorate the career milestone.
Sophomore outside hitter Helena Elbaek, the team’s second-leading attacker, did not play against GW, giving senior Hoakalei Dawson an increased role in the rotation. Dawson finished the game with seven kills, eight digs and two service aces.
“Helena was rested today, so she’ll be ready to come back on the weekend hopefully. Hoakalei played a good match and Shannon did as well,” head coach Barry Goldberg said. “It was a good job overall from everybody but certainly Shannon and Hoakalei as two of our hitters did really well.”
Goldberg said the greater balance in the Eagles’ offensive approach allows for more dynamism and efficiency in their attack.
“We’re mixing the ball around a little bit more and both of our setters are doing pretty well with it,” Goldberg said. “If they can mix it up and not give it all to Ola [Kazala] as they were doing halfway through the season we can get more opportunities and other players are coming through and hitting well. That’s really important for us.”
Junior middle blocker Cheyenne Orsi also added seven kills for AU. Junior setter Kennedy Etheridge recorded 26 assists and libero Kristan Largay tallied three service aces. Aaliya Davidson led the Colonials (6-15) with eight kills, but GW was limited by their unforced errors throughout the match. The Colonials made 14 attacking errors, 10 combined service and service return errors and three ball handling errors in the match. They hit 0.188 as a team.
The Eagles play their next three matches away from Bender Arena in a pivotal stretch of the season, playing Bucknell on Friday, Colgate on Saturday and Loyola Maryland Oct. 17.
“We are at Bucknell and Colgate this weekend to finish off the first round [of league play],” Goldberg said. “We’ll get to know everyone pretty well and then we’ve got to come back to be even better in the second round to see if we can make the playoff.”