WASHINGTON - The American University volleyball team (2-1) suffered its first loss of the 2019 season on Saturday, falling to Hartford (1-2) during the final day of George Washington's DC Challenge. Two Eagles were selected to the All-Tournament Team, including junior Helena Elbaek who was voted MVP by the teams' head coaches. Freshman Onuchi Ndee joined her on the All-Tournament Team.
- Elbaek led the team once again with 34 kills but gave up 15 errors for a .204 hitting percentage. She closed the weekend with 78 kills, 27 errors, and 38 digs.
- Seven of the AU newcomers also got significant playing time, including freshman Inbal Peleg who pitched in 61 assists and three blocks.
- Freshman Rachael Bennett led the team with 16 digs followed by Elbaek (15) and junior transfer Chiara Bosetti (14).
- Hartford was led by Lindsay Maddie's 21 kills followed by 15 from Jenna Bridges. Greta de Gaspar led the team with 20 digs followed by 19 from Megan Scherer. Bridges also put up a game-high eight blocks.
- Elbaek was the only returner to play all four sets. Bennett, Peleg, and Bosetti were the only other players to appear throughout the match.
- The Eagles were forced to play catch-up for much of the first set after falling to an early 6-0 deficit against the Hawks.
- A kill from Elbaek pulled AU back within one, but the team was unable to draw even with Hartford and the Hawks took the first set, 25-21.
- It was a back-and-forth battle to open the second set before a 3-0 run gave the Eagles their first significant lead of the match at 12-9. Hartford surged back ahead and reach the set point before a closing 6-0 AU run, spurred along by four kills from Elbaek and one from senior Vela McBride, delivered American the set, 26-24.
- The Eagles fell prey to the same turn of events in the third, reaching the set point before a quick three Hartford kills tied the game, 24-24. The two teams went back-and-forth before a pair of AU errors gave the Hawks the final lead, 29-27.
- American seemed poised to push the match into a fifth set, reaching a 22-18 lead before a 6-0 Hartford run put the Eagles on the ropes. A series of late kills from Hartford's Valerie Diede closed the set and the match.
HEAR FROM COACH GOLDBERG
"We started the weekend off playing very well. We had a strong performance against GW, a local rival that's been a rival for a number of years, then we played immediately after and did a good job against Howard. Those were two matches that we knew were big for us, they are two teams that have been successful for years, so that was good. Then this morning just started off slow, then we got really hot, then slow again. We made a lot of unforced errors and by the third set, we were struggling. But, it's the beginning of the year and the new people are learning and we're still learning how to work as a unit and be competitive. So, I think it was a positive weekend in a lot of aspects, and we're looking forward to getting back into practice and continuing to improve over these next few weeks as we prepare for conference season."
The Eagles will make their home debut in Bender Arena on Friday, Sept. 6, with the first two matches of the American Volleyball Classic. AU will open at 12:30 p.m. against Winthrop followed by a 7 p.m. start against Ohio. A 2 p.m. game against Temple on Saturday, Sept. 7, will close the weekend.
For the latest on American University Volleyball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter (@AU_Volleyball) and Instagram (@AU_Volleyball).
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