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GMU 2 & GW 2 Preview
GMU 2 & GW 2 Preview
Published by BeckysTXA
GMU 2 & GW 2 Preview

Dayton Volleyball hosts George Washington on Friday, October 25 at 7 pm and George Mason on Sunday, October 27 at 1 pm this weekend. Two weeks ago, UD swept both teams on the road. Mason is 0-7 in the conference. However, they can be a scrappy team that can dig out kills at times and they run a fast offense that can score more points than you would expect with no wins in the A10. All that said, Flyer fans should expect UD to sweep the Patriots on Sunday. George Washington may put up more of a fight, but the team should welcome that challenge this late in the season.

GW is a good blocking team. In the first match, which was 3 sets, GW out-blocked Dayton 7-5. For the season, the Colonials average 2.6 blocks per set. That is a solid number. UD is averaging 2.23 per set. Their blocking stat is anchored by three middle blockers – two grad transfers and a junior. Caroline Sklaver transferred from Princeton and Paty Valle from TCU. Valle is originally from Mexico. She’s missed two matches due to injury this year and did not play against UD two weeks ago. She could make a difference. All three MBs are averaging more than one block per set in A10 play and are ranked in the top 10 in conference blocking stats. There won’t be any easy kills.

Defensively, Dayton will need to stop Sr OH Skylar Iott who has racked up more than 1,000 kills in her career. Iott is second in the A-10 in kills per set at 4.68. Jamie Peterson leads the conference at 5.59 kills per set. Iott had 12 kills two weeks ago, but hit only .103 for the match. The Flyers will need to contain her again this weekend.

Finally, the Colonials also have a senior setter in Jaimeson Lee. She is 3rd in the conference averaging 9.84 assists per set. With Valle back in action, GW has a lot of experience across their front line and it should be a good test for UD. The team has been working to improve and finish the last month of the season strong both in executing game plans on the court and preparing mentally for a strong finish.

“The team is constantly growing and that is the goal going forward both on the court and mentally,” said UD head coach Tim Horsmon. “Otherwise it is business as usual for us as we head down the home stretch. We will continue to balance out our on court activity with the leadership and mental training we need, to be our best.”

Earlier in the season, Flyer fans noted the team was committing a high number of service errors during matches. For the season we are averaging 2.3 service errors per set. But, in A10 play that average has dropped to 1.8 per set. It’s a fine balance between committing errors and performing an aggressive serve to keep the opponents out-of-system offensively. Horsmon addressed this part of the game.

“We have been more intentional recently in practice in regard to our serve and pass game,” he said. “They work hand-in-hand in both practices and matches. As we improve one area, it challenges the other side to improve as well. Having the ability to limit passing errors and the ability to serve to all zones has been key for us recently.”

There are six zones on a volleyball court, and UD coaches signal in to each Flyer server what zone they want to hit, usually targeting an opponent’s weakest passer in any rotation. Although aces aren’t the whole story when evaluating a team’s serving abilities, they are part of the equation. UD leads the A10 in aces per set at 1.82. GW is second at 1.68. A team’s hitting percentage is also part of the equation because aggressive serving keeps the other team out of system and limits kill opportunities. Dayton is second in hitting percentage in the A10 at .302 and GW is 7th at .162. Hitting over 300 as a team is very solid.

UD will handle GW and GMU. Two sweeps should be expected, but GW will be looking to knock off either UD or SLU this weekend. They currently sit fourth in the standings at 5-2 in the conference. They do not want to slide to 5-4. Both matches, but especially the GW match on Friday, provides the opportunity to play the game at a very high level and consistently at that level, every set. Although we have had sweeps this season, we haven’t always dominated every set in matches we should have won easily. Playing at a high level consistently for longer periods of time each match is still a work in progress.

Additionally, the individual challenges between players in different areas of the game, and how much improvement has been made in the last month is what fans should be looking to evaluate at this point in the season. To reach the team goals, it will take players stepping up and “putting it all together” this time of the year. It has taken a season of “all-hands-on-deck” to put this team in a position to be successful and to achieve the team goals as the calendar turns to November.

“Our entire staff has done a great job this season,” Horsmon said. “From practice to preparing scouting reports and all of the other things in between. They have been a tremendous asset to our program. It extends well beyond our assistant coaches, to our support staff and administration that help make Dayton Volleyball great.”

Prepare. Play. Learn. All goals are still in play.
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