By: Ashleigh Tobin
George Washington University Volleyball won two games against St. Louis University this weekend at the Smith Center in an impressive upset.
The weekend started Friday evening with GW completing a three-set comeback to upset St. Louis in five sets in front of an energetic home crowd.
The Billikens took the first set, 25-16, hitting .353 to GW’s .147. The Buff and Blue kept it close initially but quickly fell behind by six points, which they could not overcome. During the set, GW’s Bella Bowman reached second all-time in the program for career digs, tallying 31 digs in the match and 1,683 total in her career.
GW dropped the second set 25-14, prompting fans to leave the Smith Center. The set quickly became out of reach for the Buff and Blue as they went down five points, making the score 6-1. Coach Katie Refeirt took a timeout, but GW could not put together a run to shrink the lead. St. Louis led in hitting (.378 to GW’s .000) and kills (14 to GW’s 7).
The third set shifted the momentum of the match in favor of GW. The Buff and Blue won 25-22 in a hard-fought set. GW took a five point lead early, but after an effective St. Louis timeout, the score was evened. The rest of the set was back and forth, with the teams exchanging leads. Going into the end of the set, the score remained tied at 22. GW took the last three points of the set to take it, as fans erupted with cheers.
When asked what she said to the team following the second set to achieve such a turnaround, coach Katie Reifert said, “You know, everyone keeps asking me this and I didn’t really say anything. We were playing good volleyball, not great volleyball, but good volleyball in the first two sets. So, I just kept them determined and told the offense to get going. Once that started clicking, they realized they could play this team.”
The Buff and Blue took the fourth set in commanding fashion, winning 25-10. GW held the Billikens to a .000 hitting percentage during the set while they hit .467. St. Louis gave up the first five points to GW, prompting them to take a timeout. Shortly after, GW went on a run and extended their lead to 13 points, forcing the Billikens to take their final timeout. The lead proved challenging to overcome for St. Louis as GW tied the match and forced set five.
The Smith Center was electric for the final set of the match. GW went down three points early but then scored four unanswered to bring the score to 4-3. Neither team was willing to go down easily, as the teams exchanged points keeping the score tied or within one point. The Buff and Blue held a three point lead at 10-7 when the Billikens called a timeout, which proved to be effective. Following the timeout, St. Louis scored two points in a row and eventually evened the set at 12. GW took the last three points of the set to win the match, completing their second three-set comeback in a row.
Saturday afternoon, GW picked up their fifth win in a row by defeating the Billikens in four sets.
GW took the first set 25-23, led by Brittany Myers, who had six kills. The teams were evenly matched in this one, both hitting .152 and recording 12 kills. The Buff and Blue then won the second set in a similar fashion, with a score of 25-21. GW recorded 15 kills and out-hit St. Louis .249 to .143.
The Billikens took an early lead in set three and won 25-17. The set was highlighted by a few questionable calls made by the referees, with fans expressing their discontent. St. Louis led hitting .314 to GW’s .097, and recorded 16 kills in the set.
GW took the fourth set to end the match, completing their weekend sweep. The Buff and Blue started on a four point run, but St. Louis turned the lead in their favor to make the score 8-5. Both teams exchanged leads throughout the set, keeping it close until the end. The Billikens had a service error, giving the Buff and Blue their final point of the match.
Coach Reifert expressed her gratitude for the fans in the Smith Center during the weekend matches, saying their energy is “everything.” She added, “I love playing in the Smith Center. I played here. I think it is a great volleyball atmosphere. We know that we have to put on a show. We have to win. We don’t expect fans to show up if we don’t give them something to watch.”
GW is now tied for second in the A10 conference and will look to continue their win streak next weekend against Fordham.