VOLLEYBALL | Hoyas Claim DC Supremacy in Win
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 00:09
In its first home game of the season, the Georgetown volleyball team (4-4) came out firing on all cylinders, cruising to a three-set win over cross-town rival George Washington (3-4) in front of a lively home crowd.
“Everyone loves to win at home. We have our fans, our atmosphere, our colors — it’s crucial. And the turnout today was amazing, so thank you to the fans for showing up, for being loud,” junior middle blocker Dani White said. “That just translated to the court.”
Georgetown jumped out to an impressive lead in the first set and never looked back, opening with a 12-2 run that forced two early Colonial time outs. George Washington made a small run with five consecutive points, but the Hoyas came back to shut them down for a commanding 25-13 victory.
“I think that we knew that we needed to serve aggressively and I think that we took care of it, serving tough,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “GW really struggled to get in a system, and so they could not run their offense the way that they would have liked to.”
In the second set, play was more balanced, with the teams trading points until the end. The Blue and Gray clinched a key point to go up 24-21 after great hustle from sophomore outside hitter Lauren Saar, who dived to keep the ball in play as the teams were scrambling.
“I think that when you have a big play like that it’s a huge momentum shifter, and it just kept us rolling, so the air didn’t fall out of us,” Williams said.
Georgetown went on to win on the next play on a Colonial error to go up two sets to none.
“Our passing broke down in the middle of the [set], and then we got our passing back on track and we were able to run some things in system, and then I think that we served extremely well at the end of that game also,” Williams said.
In what turned out to be the decisive third set, George Washington started strong, jumping to a 5-1 lead. But the Hoyas clawed their way back to go up 11-10 and then hung on for the victory.
Georgetown finished the game on a commanding hit from junior outside hitter Alex Johnson to win 25-22. The third set was very much about the mental composure of the team.
“You’ve heard me talk for these last couple weeks about it being in all the details, the little things, and that mental piece allows us to take care of the details. Alex took that great swing to end the match. We were tracking to end the match. We were tracking their hitters, getting good touches on the ball, and that piece is because we’re thinking it through,” Williams said.
The Hoyas’s victory can be partially attributed to their attitude on the court. They had fun, enjoying their successes and shaking off the mistakes.
“When we flow and we’re loose, you can see that same off-the-court chemistry on the court. Volleyball is very much an interdependent sport. And so when we’re flowing, and we’re vibing, it clearly translates,” White said.
Johnson led all players with 15 kills, and Saar recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs, contributing early to get the Hoyas ahead. Freshman setter Caitlin Brauneis led all players with 35 assists.
Georgetown will look to use this momentum to power them to victory at the upcoming Active Ankle Challenge, where they’ll first face host Florida (5-1), who this week was ranked ninth in an American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll.
“We’re facing a lot of bigger competition, and this win really is going to drive us for the next coming days,” White said.
Georgetown will also take on Western Michigan (6-2), who will be trying to bounce back from a recent loss that snapped its three-game win streak. The final game of the tournament will be against Iona (1-5).
As Georgetown looks to continue improving, the team is excited to take on its next challenge.
“Every game so far, we’ve gotten better. We’ve worked out some of the kinks and I think we’re going to be really good by the end of the season, so I’m excited,” Brauneis said.
Williams, too, is excited for what’s ahead.
“Our team dynamic is good, our players really love each other, and they have heart for this program. And so what you see out there is just them doing what they do every day,” she said.