WASHINGTON - The American University volleyball squad (2-0) had an exciting start to the 2019 season on Friday, opening the three-game DC Challenge with wins over host George Washington (1-1) and Howard (1-1). The Eagles will close out the tournament at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Hartford (1-1).
MATCH NOTES - GEORGE WASHINGTON (3-1)
- Junior Helena Elbaek paced the team with 24 kills in 59 total attacks and hit .271. She also added a pair of blocks, 10 digs and an ace to the scoresheet.
- Five of the Eagles' eight newcomers had strong performances in their AU debuts, starting with freshman Inbal Peleg who led the team with 53 assists and 17 digs, followed by junior transfer Chiara Bosetti who added 16 digs and 10 kills.
- Freshmen Asli Celikkol and Ndee Onuchi were second on the team with 11 kills each. Celikkol led the squad with four aces while Ndee put up a team-high four blocks.
- Senior libero Kristen Largay earned 15 digs and a pair of service aces.
- GW was led by Skylar Lott's 12 kills. Jaimeson Lee added a team-high 17 digs while Caroline Sklaver came away with a game-high eight blocks.
- The Eagles closed hitting .241 while the Colonials ended with a .122 hitting percentage. AU also led the Colonials defensively with 65 digs, but GW controlled the net with 19 blocks.
- American dominated the early minutes of the match, pulling to a 7-1 lead in the first set before GW hit a 5-1 run to gain its first advantage of the day at 16-14. The set remained close but AU was able to pull away after a series of attack errors and one final kill from Bosetti.
- The second set opened in much the same fashion with the two teams drawing even nine times before a 5-0 AU run put the Eagles ahead 16-12. AU continued to control the remainder of the set and closed wth a 25-18 advantage.
- GW controlled the tempo throughout the third set, though, picking up an early lead and maintaining the edge to close at 25-23 and stretch the match to four sets.
- The Eagles wasted little time in the fourth, picking up an early 8-3 lead and nearly holding the Colonials to single-digits before a brief run closed the lead to 20-12. Three kills from Celikkol ended the match with a 25-15 fourth set.
MATCH NOTES - HOWARD (3-1)
- Elbaek was once again atop the scoresheet for AU against the Bison, putting away 20 kills with only four errors for a .296 hitting percentage. She also added three aces and 13 digs.
- Largay led the team defensively with 15 digs, followed by Elbaek and Peleg (11).
- Ndee, Elbaek, and senior Vela McBride led the team with two blocks each.
- The Eagles closed the match with a .248 attack percentage and 70 digs.
- Macy Witt-Nobles led the Bison with 12 attacks while Semira Blair and Fola Wilson both pitched in a team-high 15 digs.
- The teams tied six times throughout the four-set match and had four lead changes.
- The Eagles opened with a 25-16 win in the first set before Howard found its feet and controlled the second, 25-18. AU closed strong, though, with a 25-17 win in the third and 25-16 win in the fourth.
AU will close the weekend at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Hartford. The Eagles will open their home schedule next weekend with the American Volleyball Classic, hosting Winthrop at 12:30 p.m. and Ohio at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, and Temple at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7.
For the latest on American University Volleyball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter (@AU_Volleyball) and Instagram (@AU_Volleyball).