WASHINGTON, D.C. – UMBC freshman libero Casey Griffith (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion) recorded 15 digs, but George Washington outhit the Retrievers .232-.126 and swept the match in three sets, 25-20, 25-19, 26-24, Saturday morning at the Smith Center on day two of the GW/Nike Invitational.
"We just have to learn how to be better at the little things," said ninth-year head coach Ian Blanchard. "We need to compete for an entire set and an entire match. It's a matter of finishing the little things and we didn't in this match."
Senior hitter Ali Goc (Oshawar, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin) nearly notched the team's first double-double of the season, collecting nine kills and picking up nine digs. Junior Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales) and freshman Ivana Kostic (Belgrade, Serbia/Srednja Skola Grocka) each recorded seven kills for UMBC (0-2).
Kelsey Newman led all hitters with 16 put-aways while also digging 12 balls. Rachael Gross and Maddy Doyle also registered double-digit digs with 14 and 12, respectively, for George Washington (1-1).
The hosts opened brightly taking the first two points, but UMBC rallied quickly with sophomore Sherelle Walker (New Freedom, Pa./Susquahannock) grabbing the lead at 3-2 with a kill. But GW then ran off eight of the next nine points to stake to a 10-4 lead. The Retrievers chipped away at the lead, however, and drew within one at 21-20, but could not complete the comeback as the Colonials won the next four points and the set, 25-20.
In the second set it was the visitors who jumped out early, taking a five-point lead, 13-8, on another kill by Walker. With UMBC leading 17-13 after a Griffith ace, GW strung together nine-straight points to take a 22-17 lead and did not look back. Back-to-back points on kills from Goc and sophomore Krystal Mlemchukwu (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) pulled the Black and Gold within three, 22-19, but they could not get any closer as GW won the set 25-19.
The third frame was a back-and-forth affair as the two squads traded the lead only twice, but were level on ten separate occasions. Down 11-9, the Retrievers scored four straight for a 13-11 lead. The lead did not last long though as three GW points gave the hosts the lead, and they did not trail again. UMBC did not give in, however, and despite facing two match points, staved them both off to knot the score at 24-24 and force a GW timeout. The Colonials came back out though and took the match with back-to-back winners.
UMBC concludes the weekend tournament this evening with a match against in-state rival Maryland. Game time at the Smith Center is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
- With the win, GW extends its lead in the all-time series with UMBC to 21-1.
- UMBC's only win in the series came in 2008 at the West Virginia Volleyball Classic.
- Griffith has led the Retrievers in digs in both matches this season.