WASHINGTON – In a thrilling five-set battle, the American University volleyball team came up just short, falling to George Washington, 25-21, 20-25, 25-13, 19-25, 13-15, on Wednesday evening in Bender Arena.
With the loss, the Eagles snapped a 14-match winning streak to drop to 18-5 overall, while the Colonials moved to 16-7 on the year.
Three different AU players reached double-figures in kills, led by junior Sarah Katz with 15 kills. Junior Allison Cappellino added 12 kills and a team-best 18 digs, while senior Kelly McCaddin registered 11 kills.
Senior setter Monika Smidova also recorded a double-double for American, finishing with 45 assists and 11 digs, while senior libero Megan Rosburg, who moved into fourth place on the Eagles' career dig list, finished with 14 digs.
After a back-and-forth beginning in the opening set, GW pulled ahead for a 16-12 lead over the Eagles. However, AU went on a run to finish the set, outscoring the Colonials 13-5 down the stretch. Cappellino led the way for American with five kills, as the Eagles hit .345 in the set.
In the second set, GW took the early lead and never relented, picking up the five-point victory to tie the match at 1-1. While senior Kristyna Lindovska finished with a team-best four kills in the set, AU hit just .103 as a team.
The Eagles bounced back in a big way in the third set, leading by as many as 13 points before taking the 25-13 win. Katz and McCaddin each scored four kills in the set and the team combined for a .385 attack percentage, while the Colonials were held to a negative hitting percentage.
GW responded in the fourth set, taking an early lead. The Colonials pushed their margin to 18-12 before the Eagles battled back, getting within two points. However, GW regained the momentum, holding on for the 25-19 victory, led by six kills from Chidima Osuchukwu.
The final set was close early on as the two teams traded points, but the Colonials went on a run to gain a 9-5 advantage. While GW led by as many as five points, the Eagles again fought back, cutting the margin to 14-13. However, the Colonials secured the win with a block, one of 11 on the evening for GW.
"It was a good match, back-and-forth. Certainly, it could have gone either way," said American head coach Barry Goldberg. "It was a match where both teams were right there, had their moments. I thought our effort was a little slow tonight, not as sharp as we've been."
"It was really a good match for us in terms of trying to see if we're a team ready to go forward and take the next steps for our program. This was a match that's an indicator for something like that, and it said that we're not ready yet. We've got our work cut out for us over the next three weeks to see if we can improve and get another shot at the [NCAA] tournament through our league."
The Eagles hit the road for a pair of Patriot League matches this weekend, visiting Lafayette on Friday, while facing Bucknell on Saturday.