The Pirates volleyball team fell to George Washington in the first game of the 2016 Seton Hall Classic, losing three sets to one on Friday night at Walsh Gymnasium.
George Washington took an early 8-3 lead against the Pirates in the first set, but Seton Hall managed to fight back and eventually evened the score at 11. The two exchanged leads for the remainder of the set before the Colonials narrowly pushed in front to win the set, 25-23.
The Colonials marginally edged out the Pirates again in the second set. George Washington was ahead 8-6 early on, but Seton Hall scored five unanswered points to pull ahead 11-8. The two continued to exchange blows before the Colonials narrowly closed out the set by a score of 25-22.
It was the third set when the Pirates came back, taking the set by a score of 25-20. Seton Hall played with tenacity on offense and defense, taking advantage of the Colonials’ lapses in play and leading by as much as eight. George Washington rallied late and came within three points of tying it up, but the Pirates maintained their lead and took the set.
George Washington rebounded and won the fourth and final set, barely edging out the Pirates in another 25-23 affair. Neither team was able to pull away from the other, with neither side leading by more than three points. Clutch kills by senior Chidima Osuchukwu kept the Colonials out in front of the Pirates late in the set and allowed them to narrowly take the match.
Freshman Skylar Iott led the way for George Washington, pacing her team with four digs and 25 kills on 43 attempts. Danielle Schroeder led the Pirates with 16 kills on 33 attempts.
No set was won by more than five points.
“[George Washington is] a really, really good team,” coach Allison Yaeger said after the game. “We had a huge problem with their number eight [Osuchukwu]. Every time she touched the ball, she put it away. You have to give them credit, they have a great offense and when they’re in system they are pretty unstoppable.”
Yaeger emphasized the growth that can come out of losses and close matches.
“We learned so much tonight, and that is exactly what preseason is about,” she said. “We hit .280 today and I always say as long as we’re hitting .230 and higher, that’s good for us. We had three people in double-digits tonight and that’s all I can want from our offense. We want to be an offensive threat and I think right now we’re proving it.”
The Pirates fall to 0-4 on the season, while the Colonials improve to 2-2. Seton Hall resumes action on Saturday, Sept. 3 when the team continues its 2016 Seton Hall Classic with a doubleheader against the Canisius Golden Griffins and the Towson Tigers.
Matt Lapolla can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @MatthewLapolla.