Volleyball rocks George Washington in season opener

Eagles swept the Revolutionaries in 3 sets

Volleyball rocks George Washington in season opener
American University volleyball v George Washington at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Aug. 25, 2023

The American University volleyball team (1-0) swept the George Washington Revolutionaries (0-1) in the Eagles’ season opener in Bender Area.  

The Eagles are wearing a patch this season to honor their late coach Barry Goldberg, as this is their first season since his passing. They looked to start the season off with a win at home under new head coach Ahen Kim

Their first set of the season was hard-fought, taking 50 points, 12 ties and seven lead changes before the end of the set. A kill from graduate student outside hitter Zeynep Uzen secured the set win for AU, one of her seven in the game and four in the set. The set also featured 4 kills from sophomore outside hitter Adelina Berisha, and another two by graduate student middle blocker Carlie Fikse. The set finished with a score of 26-24. 

The second set kicked off with a 9-5 run in favor of the Eagles, with Berisha contributing another three kills to the score. The Revolutionaries held the lead for 6 of the 46 points in this set, with AU establishing a rhythm and communication between the players on the court. 

Berisha notched another two kills in the rest of the set. Freshman outside hitter Holly Hopkins made her AU volleyball debut, getting a kill in the first set and another 5 in this one. These points led AU to a 25-21 set win, putting them up 2-0 heading into the third set. 

A thunderous spike by Uzen led off the third set, signaling the beginning of a dominant Eagles run. George Washington did not hold a lead during this entire set, tying the score once after that original Uzen kill. AU then went on a 24-12 run to close the game out. Berisha racked up another five kills in this run, totalling at 14 in the game. The set’s final score was 25-13, and a 3-0 AU win. 

Team leaders for the game included Fikse in hitting percentage at .444, junior setter Esma Sipahi in assists with 31 and Berisha in kills with 14. Junior defensive specialist Bridget Javitch played the entire game for the Eagles at libero, leading the team with 22 digs. 

Berisha attributed the win to the “bond that the entire team has built throughout the offseason.” She also noted the impact of their new team members, saying “[The team] brought in seven freshmen, so being able to give them a huge victory to lead off the year sets the tone for the team this season.” 

Berisha believes that this win gives the team confidence heading into the rest of the season.

The Eagles improve to 1-0 on the season, and hold an all-time 17-8 record against the George Washington Revolutionaries. They compete next at home against UMES on September 1.


This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis.

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