It's safe to say that the GU women's volleyball team has seen its share of tough losses this season. However, nothing could have prepared the team for the heartbreaking day they would have today. After flying across the country yesterday, the Bulldogs dropped back-to-back 3-2 decisions in the opening day of the University of Pittsburgh Tournament. What makes these losses so harsh is that GU had opportunities to win both of the matches.
The Bulldogs opened the day by going up against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. This match served as a great opportunity for the team to demonstrate the improvements they had made against a team from the Big East. It was a classic back and forth battle, that saw the Panthers emerge 3-2, with scores of 24-26, 25-13, 19-25, 25-19, 15-8. What makes this loss so frustrating is the inconsistency that the team demonstrated throughout the match. After a great performance in set #1, the Bulldogs fell behind 8-1 in the second set, and gave themselves no chance of going up 2-0. It was the same story in sets # 3 and 4, as the Bulldogs played great volleyball in set # 3, and cruised to a 25-19 win. However, they fell behind early in set # 4, were never able to cut into the Panthers lead, as they lost the set 25-19. For this team to reach the highest level they are capable of, consistency is a must. The team was led by terrific performances from Elaina Renius and Michelle Boevers, who had 14 and 11 kills for the match.
The second match of the day saw much of the same for the Bulldogs, as they fell in similar fashion to the VCU Rams. The similarities between the two matches were eerie, as the Bulldogs fell 3-2, with scores of 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 16-25, 15-4. This match saw both the good and the bad from the team, as they were dominant at times, but also error prone throughout. These errors killed the ladies in the 5th set, when they committed four straight errors to begin the set. They could not recover from the 4-0 deficit, and seemed deflated throughout the remainder of the final set. The trio of Elania Renius, Michelle Boevers, and Layne Brosky led the team throughout the match. All three recorded double-digit kills for the match, with Renius recording a team-high 17. Denise Van De Mortel was impressive, as she had 20 digs to go along with her 54 assists.
The Bulldogs will return to action tomorrow morning against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. It is vital that they secure a positive result, as they do not want to enter WCC play on a three game losing streak. It is clear that this team has the talent to succeed, but it must find consistency if it is going to reach the significant potential it has.