Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

The expectations have begun.

A panel of Atlantic 10 head coaches and media members picked GW to finish second in the conference at basketball media day Tuesday, the best finish since GW was favored to win before the 2005-06 season and an eight-place leap from last season when the team was expected to finish 10th.

GW finished with 343 votes in the poll, behind unanimous first place pick VCU, which finished with 392 points. Junior guard/forward Patricio Garino was also picked for the Preseason All-Conference First Team as well as the All-Defensive team.

Garino wasn’t the only Colonial to will All-Conference honors: Junior forward Kevin Larsen made the Preseason All-Conference Second Team and junior guard Kethan Savage made the Preseason Third team.

Garino earned spots on the All-Conference Third team at the end of last season as well as the All-Defensive team after scoring a team-leading 12.8 points per game in conference play.

Larsen had a breakout performance last season, averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in league play en route to the A-10’s most improved player award. He averaged 11.4 points per game for the season as a whole.

Savage could be one of this year’s breakout candidates, even as the team’s leading returning scorer, after a foot fracture caused him to miss most of the last 15 games of last season. He was averaging 13.4 points through 18 games.

The preseason poll heightens the buzz around the team after being picked slightly lower by offseason polls. SB Nation’s Mid-Major Madness had picked the Colonials to finish third behind VCU and Massachusetts, and CBS Sports college basketball writer Matt Norlander picked the team fifth behind Saint Joseph’s, Dayton, Richmond and VCU. The A-10 coaches and media picked Dayton to finish third followed by Massachusetts and then Richmond rounding out the top five.

GW equaled its second-most wins total in program history last year with 24, tied for third in the A-10 regular season and received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The team will be back in action Nov. 8 with an exhibition game against Bloomsburg.

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Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 11:54 p.m.

Osuchukwu, Doyle earn conference honors

The Colonials celebrate a point in a match earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The Colonials celebrate a point in a match earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist.

After standout performances against Saint Louis and Dayton this weekend, sophomore middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu and junior libero Maddy Doyle both received conference honors, the league announced Monday.

Osuchukwu was named A-10 Player of the Week, and Doyle was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Osuchukwu elevated her game this weekend against two of the A-10’s top teams in the Billikens and the Flyers. The honor marks Osuchukwu’s third A-10 Player of the Week award of her career.

Against Dayton, Osuchukwu racked up a career-high 30 kills and hit a blistering .474 percentage to help the Colonials knock off the previously undefeated conference leader 3-2 in a comeback victory.

Through two games, Osuchukwu tallied 45 kills on a .429 attack percentage, while racking up 12.0 total blocks (three solo, nine assists) against the opposition.

Osuchukwu is just the fifth player in program history to receive the A-10 Player of the Week for three different weeks.

Doyle was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week along with junior Janna Kafka of Dayton.

The weekly award is Doyle’s first of her career. Doyle, who leads the A-10 in digs per set (4.44), amassed 42 digs over the Colonials’ 1-1 weekend. Doyle led all players in Friday’s loss to Saint Louis with 16 digs and recorded a season-high 26 digs against Dayton on Saturday.

GW will be on the road for the next two weeks, starting with a Friday match against Davidson at 7 p.m.

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Junior Kristi Abbate tries to out run a defender in a match against Georgetown earlier this season.

Junior Kristi Abbate tries to out run a defender in a match against Georgetown earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.

It took the women’s soccer team all but 17 minutes to score two goals against Massachusetts on Saturday, which was enough to cement a 2-1 victory.

The win was the Colonials’ first in conference play after a loss to La Salle and tie to Fordham in their previous two matches, and kept GW undefeated (5-0) at home.

GW (8-3-1) struck early, and on the heels of its two most reliable playmakers: sophomore forward MacKenzie Cowley and junior midfielder Kristi Abbate.

Abbate picked up her team-leading third assist when Cowley scored in the 8th minute. Both Cowley and Abbate picked up their second and fourth assists, respectively, on the second goal. After Abbate sent a long pass to Cowley in the 17th minute, the sophomore dribbled past the goalkeeper and set up sophomore midfielder Lina Proska for her first goal on the season.

“We were talking about, all week, how the [UMass] goalie comes out,” Cowley said. “Right when I saw the goalie, [head coach Sarah Barnes] told us to take a touch right by her. So I just touched it by her, sent it in and Lina was there thankfully.”

In addition to the 11 UMass players on the field, GW also had to fight cold temperatures and light rain.

“The ball’s definitely a lot slipperier, so your touch just has to be on point,” Cowley said. “If not, it’s just going to fly off you.”

But as the rain subsided in the first half, so too did GW’s control of the game.

It wasn’t until the second half that UMass was able to respond to the early GW offense. UMass sophomore forward Alyssa Fratarcangeli’s struck a corner kick in the 60th minute, which sophomore midfielder Daniela Alvarez tapped passed Colonials goalkeeper Miranda Horn for the Minutewomen’s lone goal of the day.

“I thought that in the first half we were really good,” Barnes said.  “I thought our movement was good, our runs were good. I thought we played poorly in the second half. I don’t know if they were worse in the first half, but I know that we were worse in the second half.”

Barnes cited a lack of ball control as the factor that dismantled the Colonials. Because of giveaways and poor touches, GW could not create the same kind of chances they set up in the opening half.

Barnes likened Saturday’s performance to GW’s last home game, a 2-1 win over George Mason, which featured a similar progression of scoring.

“You look at the Mason game, you look at this game, both teams are very direct. So they’re just playing the ball, they’re not trying to connect,” Barnes said. “They’re trying to dump the ball forward and then press. We have to be better at dealing with that.”

Moving forward, Barnes highlighted composure as a key component to both of GW’s recent near slip-ups at home, adding that maintaining ball control and providing a consistent attack are the top priorities for the team.

“It’s interesting, I think neither halftime did we talk about let’s sit in and defend,” Barnes said. “We talked about how important it was going to be to put pressure on the ball to deny services, and then keep the ball once we won it.”

Next up for GW is a match against A-10 newcomers Davidson (4-8-1, 1-1-0) on Friday afternoon.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Mark Eisenhauer.

After eking out a lead in the first half, disaster struck for the Colonials in a 2-1 loss to Rhode Island on Saturday in the team’s conference opener.

Though the stat sheet marked it as a Rams score, an own goal in the 62nd minute would be the game winner for Rhode Island when the the GW defense converted a ball played into their box into a goal in their own net.

Top scorer Jonny Forrest was sorely missed by the Colonials (4-6-0, 0-1-0), who took just five shots in the game compared to 18 for the Rams (6-3-3, 2-0-0). The junior forward sat out with an injury in the Colonials fifth loss in the last six games, the sixth game in which their offense has generated one goal or less.

“It wasn’t like we didn’t create some quality chances, we just didn’t quite have that quality finish or quality shot to score more goals,” head coach Craig Jones said.

Junior goalkeeper Jean-Pierre van der Merwe contributed seven saves in the first half despite a 15-shot onslaught against him. The score remained blank until the 42nd minute, when junior forward Philip McQuitty would score his first goal of the season off a pass from senior co-captain Matthew Scott to put GW on the board.

But that lead was short lived: The Rams responded two minutes later with just seconds to go in the half and tied the game with a corner kick missed by van der Merwe that managed to sneak into the left post.

“We should have gone into halftime up 1-0 [...] that’s a whole different game,” Jones said. “We’ve got 10 defenders in the box and a goalkeeper, and yet the guy basically got a free shot. It was a terrible time to give up a goal and really disappointing to do that.”

GW was also handed a team yellow card in the final moments of the game, after Jones argued to the referees that the Rams were unsportsmanlike in killing the clock with the lead. All the frustration of the injury-gutted Colonials’ bubbled over, but they never found a way to answer with the players on the field.

Jones said Forrest has been sidelined with a “contact injury,” as opposed to a muscular injury. Though Jones has said he would rather see the team spread the scoring around, Saturday’s game highlighted the team’s offensive finishing woes. After missing GW’s last two games, Forrest may be back within the next week or two, Jones said.

Senior co-captain Andri Alexandersson is continuing to battle a leg injury that he sustained two weeks ago. His timetable for return is less clear, but his leadership could make a difference in tight games.

Despite the team’s losing record and poor showing against the Rams, Jones said he remains optimistic.

“The pieces are there to be honest,” Jones said. “It’s just a matter of putting them together and getting our defensive and offensive units on the same page and producing, not just one or the other.”

The Colonials are back in action next weekend at home, facing off against La Salle on Friday and Saint Joseph’s on Sunday.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

After surrendering eight goals in the first quarter to Johns Hopkins on Saturday, a late comeback in the latter half of the game was too little too late for men’s water polo, which lost the match 15-13.

“That was a good example of lousy reaction defense,” head coach Scott Reed. “It was absolutely horrendous.”

Senior Ridvan Pehlivan led the Colonials with five goals, while adding two assists and one block. Junior Bogdan Petkovic added three goals of his own along with four assists and one block.

GW was able to tie the Blue Jays 9-9 during the third quarter, but was never able to take the lead.

“We tended to look at what was happening with our teammates rather than closing up their counterattacks,” Petkovic said. “It’s more a mental thing than a tactical team.”

Both Reed and Petkovic were critical of the team’s performance in the transition game. Reed said it was the main factor in giving up a six-goal lead in the first quarter.

“These guys are so focused on wanting to score that they forget that they have to play transition defense,” Reed said. “When you give a team like this a six goal lead it’s difficult to overcome that.”

After tying the game in the third quarter, the Colonials pulled within a single goal at the start of the fourth, and again about one minute into the quarter. But Johns Hopkins scored three consecutive goals to put the game away.

Reed said after the Colonials created a deficit in the opening corner, the team struggled to take the lead.

“We had to exert that much more energy just to catch up and by the time we did the other team gets their second wind and then we’re down by two again,” Reed said.

GW returns to action Oct. 22 in a rematch against Johns Hopkins in Baltimore

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist.

Fresh off the sting of their first Atlantic 10 loss, the Colonials rebounded with a win against league-leading Dayton in a five-set thriller Saturday night.

By minimizing errors and playing consistently through the game, GW handed the Flyers their first loss of the conference season. After losing their composure in a Friday matchup against Saint Louis, the Colonials entered the Smith Center trying to start fresh, but knowing they had much to prove.

“Today we were really focused on making yesterday a lesson, a learning experience,” said sophomore middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu. “So our mentality today was if we change the things that obviously are the things that made us lose yesterday, then we are going to be so much more confident and we are going to win this game.”

Head coach Amanda Ault said there were three keys to the win Saturday: focus, minimizing errors and having momentum. Those factors, absent the night before, helped the team overcome the loss on just one night of rest.

There was a fourth factor in Osuchukwu. She was a powerhouse, boasting a career-high 30 kills and hitting a blistering .474 percentage. Osuchukwu coupled her power with pinpoint accuracy and had only three attack errors on 57 attempts.

“We have a saying that goes for our team. That’s, ‘Work hard for each other,’ and I think today we definitely embodied that motto,” Osuchukwu said. “I think it hit us we can’t win the game individually, we have to work together on every single aspect, and I think that’s what really drove us this time because we knew that once we have that we have the game.”

After holding a lead for most of the first set, which the Colonials won 25-22, GW fought a seesaw battle through 30 ties and 16 lead changes in the middle three sets. The team dropped the second set 25-19 and the third set 25-23 and found themselves staring down their second consecutive loss during two match points for Dayton at the end of the fourth set.

Osuchukwu came through in the clutch with a big kill to save the game the first time at 24-23, and Dayton sent the ball into the net two points later, failing to capitalize on their second match point at 25-24. The Colonials held set point after two attack errors to boost them to a 27-25 victory in the fourth.

The fifth and final set belonged to the Colonials. After an explosion of energy on the court following the win in the fourth set, a vocal bench powered the Colonials as they took the lead early in the fifth set and never lost it. GW stonewalled Dayton, holding the Flyers to a -.091 hitting percentage and collecting off of six attack errors while hitting .211 themselves.

Senior outside hitter Kelsey Newman said the win boiled down to making better adjustments than the Flyers. GW also dominated at the net with 13.0 total team blocks to Dayton’s 9.0.

“I feel like we wanted to just keep pushing the momentum because it was still a dogfight, you know, we weren’t going to let up,” Newman said. “Even if we just kept pushing and kept driving on them then they were going to fall back and we were going to end up winning so we just didn’t let up at all.”

GW will return to action Friday at 7 p.m. as the team takes on Davidson on the road.

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junior setter Jordan Timmer sets the ball in a match against the Puerto Rican National team earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Junior setter Jordan Timmer sets the ball in a match earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist

The volleyball team took the floor Friday night with an opportunity to stay undefeated in conference play by beating one of the conference’s best, Saint Louis.

But the Colonials succumbed to the same song and dance that has plagued them in tight matchups this season: a lack of consistency and unforced errors, which handed GW its first conference loss, 3-1 (8-25, 20-25, 25-17, 24-26).

“I am disappointed in what happened out there, simply because we didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to win the match,” head coach Amanda Ault said.

Saint Louis bested GW in the first set with its strong defense, outperforming the Colonials in digs, block assists and team blocks. The Billikens’ defensive stand and efficient hitting led to a GW attack percentage deficit of .281 to 0.88. The Colonials gave up 10 attack errors on just 34 total attempts in the set.

GW’s slipshod execution carried into the second set, which was marked by miscommunication on the floor. After a rally in the latter part of the set, a Saint Louis attack could not be recovered by the Colonials after three players dove for the ball. Ensuing back-to-back kills by Saint Louis combined with a service and attack error by GW propelled Saint Louis to a 2-0 match lead.

At one point in the game, three GW players tried to go for the same ball and Ault said the players need to improve their communication.

“Our focus got away from us, which led to us questioning what are responsibilities are and what we are supposed to take care of,” Ault said. “We need to do a better job of troubleshooting during the match and figuring out how a player can help her teammates out and how she can make it easier, instead of getting frazzled or frustrated.”

GW appeared to make some adjustments in the third set, which Ault described as a “mentality switch.” The Colonials commanded a lead for the entire set, similar to Saint Louis’ success earlier on. A much more active GW team forced 10 Saint Louis attack errors, outnumbering its nine overall kills.

“It wasn’t a conversation about what we needed to do better,” junior setter Jordan Timmer said. “We need to stay more consistent because when we were playing our game in the third set, they had no chance.”

Timmer finished the match with 44 assists and a match high .400 assist percentage.

GW and Saint Louis went back-and-forth in the match’s fourth set, with neither team able to take more than a three-point lead. The teams tied it up nine times and broke away from each other four times. The set, and ultimately the match, would come down to a 24-24 tie late, but back-to-back points by the Billikens cemented the match win.

Osuchukwu, senior outside hitter Kelsey Newman and sophomore Loren Williams each completed the game with double-digit kills. Osuchukwu led the team with 15 kills, while Newman and Williams followed with 14 and 10, respectively. As the Colonials move on to Saturday’s match against A-10 leader Dayton, Ault said the team needs to be more proactive against top contenders.

“From this point forward, we’ve put ourselves in the position that we’re going to be the hunted,” Ault said.

The Colonials will take on the Flyers on Saturday in the Smith Center at 7 p.m.

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Junior Bogdan Petkovic attempts to toss the ball past a Bucknell defender in a game earlier this season.

Junior Bogdan Petkovic attempts to toss the ball past a Bucknell defender in a game earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Oct. 10, 2014 at 7:38 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

Junior Bogdan Petkovic was named the CWPA Southern Division Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Petkovic recorded 14 steals and two blocks on the defensive end for the Colonials last week. Offensively, Petkovic totaled 12 points on eight goals and four assists through GW’s five weekend games.

He leads the Colonials with 47 steals, 13 blocks, 27 assists and 52 points on the season, and ranks fourth on the team with 25 goals. GW’s all-time leader in blocks (61), also ranks second on the team with 23 ejections drawn.

Petkovic was named defensive player of the week earlier this season on Sept. 15, and is the first male CWPA player ever to win defensive player, Southern Division Rookie of the Week (2012) and Co-Player of the Week (2013) in his career.

Men’s water polo returns to the Smith Center pool Saturday to play Johns Hopkins at 7 p.m.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Petkovic was the first male CWPA player to ever win defensive player of the week. He is actually the first male CWPA player to win all three awards – defensive player, Southern Division Rookie of the Week and Co-Player of the Week. We regret this error.

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Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup last season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup last season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

The Colonials will play five televised games during the 2014-15 regular season, with three of those games set to be broadcast nationwide, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

For students looking to plan their class schedules around tip-off, the announcement also included game times for the regular season. Weeknight games will begin at 7 p.m., and weekend games will start at 2 p.m., with the exceptions of games against Grambling State on Monday, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m., A-10 newcomer Davidson on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. and defending A-10 regular season champion Dayton on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 12 p.m.

The Feb. 8 game against Dayton will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network from the Smith Center on Feb. 8. GW will host a nationally televised game for the fourth year in a row as the Flyers seek revenge from an 88-79 upset in Foggy Bottom last season.

The Flyers are players in two of the Colonials nationally televised games: ESPNU will air the A-10 opener between the two teams on Jan. 4. CBSSN will also broadcast GW’s Jan. 18 game at Massachusetts.

Beyond the national placements, GW’s games against local rivals Maryland and Georgetown on Nov. 22 and Dec. 9, respectively, will both air on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. In taking on the Terrapins, GW will host the second Final Four team at the Smith Center in the last two seasons after upsetting the then-No. 10 California Golden Bears last November, and will try to improve on their 87-51 drubbing in College Park last season.

The announcement also included the addition of the Grambling State game to the team’s schedule. It will be the first time the two teams have met.

The Colonials begin play Nov. 9 with an exhibition game against Virginia Union before officially starting the season at Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 14.

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Senior defender Matthew Scott looks to pass the ball past a Saint Peter's player in a game earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Senior defender Matthew Scott looks to pass the ball past a Saint Peter’s player in a game earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Mark Eisenhauer.

Men’s soccer’s offensive woes resumed Sunday in a 4-0 shutout loss to Robert Morris.

The loss marked the fourth time the team has been shut out this season and came days after a 3-2 overtime win. Starting forwards junior Philip McQuitty and sophomore Angel Valencia combined for just one shot on goal.

“In the first half, we played great. We had chances, we were getting into the right spots. But today we didn’t have the quality in the final third,” head coach Craig Jones said. “Either our final pass was off, or when we did create that chance, we didn’t take advantage of it.”

GW (4-5-0) looked like it had control of the game early, after a few good chances in the Robert Morris (5-5-1) half of the field, but the game’s most pivotal moment came in the 21st minute when GW was awarded a penalty kick.

A 1-0 GW lead seemed inevitable, but Valencia’s shot was stopped by the Robert Morris keeper and turned the tide of the match.

“It was a terrible penalty,” Jones said. “If we had gone 1-0 up it would have probably given us the confidence to score more goals because that’s how well we were playing.”

Robert Morris stepped up the pressure following its big save, and despite being outshot 7-2 in the first half, managed to hold GW scoreless going into the second.

In the 52nd minute, Robert Morris star forward Neco Brett was able to chip a ball over the defense past GW goalkeeper Jean-Pierre van der Merwe, who was off his line.

Then, in the 63rd minute, Brett caught the keeper cheating off his line again, and sent a shot from 50 yards out into the back of the net.

Brett, who entered the game as the nation’s fourth-leading scorer, completed the hat trick in the 73rd minute of play and added one more to his total with just three minutes to play. Following the day’s action, Brett had accrued an impressive 12 goals on the season.

Van der Merwe, whose 4.5 saves per game placed him fourth in the A-10, would only make four saves on the day, the same amount of goals he would allow.

“[Van der Merwe] got beat from about 50 yards on two goals,” Jones said. “I don’t want to jump the gun here and blame him for his positioning until I get to see the video, but as a goalkeeper you can’t let in four goals.”

Despite the lack of finishing, GW was able to tally a total of six shots on goal compared to eight for Robert Morris. The teams also matched each other in physicality, with GW committing 14 fouls to Robert Morris’ 13.

The Colonials enter conference play Saturday when they play Rhode Island on the road.

“It’s a terrible time to lose, and the way we fell apart in the second half obviously doesn’t bode well going into conference next week,” Jones said. “We kind of just have to shake that second half off and look to what’s happened in other games and even the first half today.”

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