Georgetown was not able to raise its win total this weekend, but don’t be fooled. While the Hoyas lost all three matches at the Wildcat Classic in Evanston, Ill., they fell to tough teams, Northwestern (5-4), Virginia (8-4) and No. 4 UCLA (9-1), making their overall record 6-6.

“Overall, I think the weekend was a great weekend for us,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said, stressing the high caliber of the competition. “Our entire team did a really nice job.”

In their first match, and their first five-setter of the season, the Hoyas faced the Wildcats. Georgetown convincingly captured the first set, 25-18. Strong offensive play, exemplified by a .320 hitting percentage, got the Hoyas an early lead which they maintained.

The Hoyas’ dominant play continued into the second set. Again, they grabbed an early lead. This time though, the Wildcats fought back. Georgetown had a match-high 10 hitting errors in the set, which helped Northwestern to tie it at 18 and eventually to win it 25-22. Williams said that the Wildcats did not know what to expect from the Hoyas in the first set, but admitted that they adjusted well as the match went on.

The third set was almost a repeat of the second; the final score was 25-22 and again, one team led comfortably but was overtaken in the end. This time, the Hoyas were the comeback kids. After trailing Northwestern by as many as five points, blocking from sophomore middle blocker Vanessa Dorismond, freshman outside hitter Sara Manley and junior right side hitter Courtney Cohen sparked the Georgetown comeback.

The Hoyas lost the fourth set by the same score, 25-22. Though the two teams exchanged leads early in the set, the Wildcats went ahead at 14-13 and never looked back.

The decisive fifth set was a nail-biter. The teams were tied at 12, but the Wildcats pulled ahead to win the set 15-12. Northwestern had already played two five-set matches this season, losing to Dayton 2-3 and Wichita State 2-3, and likely benefited from those experiences.

“[Wildcats] will be mid-Big Ten – a big conference,” Williams said. She also noted that the one statistical category in which Northwestern had the edge was blocking (four more team blocks). “Kills and blocks made the difference,” she said. “The reason we could hang in as well as we did was our aggressive serving . and phenomenal defense behind the block.”

Offensively, senior setter Caitlin Boland guided the team with 49 assists. Junior outside hitter Jessica Hardy led the team with 17 kills, followed by Dorismond and Manley with 13 and 10, respectively. Defensively, freshman libero Tory Rezin, who was named Big East Freshman of the Week last week for her stellar play in the Georgetown Classic, had an impressive 25 digs.

Besides the first set, in which the Hoyas came out storming, three points separated the Hoyas and the Wildcats in every set. With a five-set experience under its belt, Georgetown should be ready for its next lengthy contest.

In its next match of the day, Georgetown was up against No. 4 and NCAA power UCLA Bruins. As in the Northwestern match, Georgetown came out smoking, playing its best volleyball early on. The Hoyas even had a set point at 25-24, but did not convert. UCLA hung tough, winning the next three points to take the set, 27-25. At .256, Georgetown actually had a higher hitting percentage than UCLA to open the match. But, not being able to win the first set was costly, according to Williams.

“[Our] mental focus was gone,” Williams said. “Things could have gone differently in the first game. . They were better than us at the key points.”

Hardy had eight kills and 10 digs and Boland put up 30 assists. 6-foot-6 freshman offensive hitter Amanda Gill, the No. 5 recruit in the country, was dynamic for UCLA, ending the match with 16 kills.

Repeating the trend of the tournament, Georgetown came out strong in its final match and gained an early lead over Virginia. But, after taking the lead at 10-9, Virginia never gave it back, going on to win the set 25-17, and later the match in three sets.

Boland had a double-double, with 30 assists and 11 digs, which earned her a spot on the Wildcat Classic All-Tournament team. Working alongside Boland, Hardy ended with 13 kills. Errors hurt the Hoyas in the match, with their team total of 23 nearly doubling their opponent’s (12). The buildup of errors resulted in Georgetown’s tournament-low hitting percentage of .117.

Northwestern beat Virginia (3-2), and UCLA won the tournament.

In a late game last night, the Hoyas beat Howard 3-0.

In its first conference matches, Georgetown will host DePaul Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and Notre Dame Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at McDonough Gymnasium.

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