VOLLEYBALL | Hoyas Win One in NC, Prep for GW at Home
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 01:09
The Georgetown volleyball team traveled to North Carolina this weekend and competed in three closely contested matches in the Campbell Tournament, sweeping one match in three sets but dropping the other two, both of which went to five sets.
The Hoyas (3-4) started off against Indiana State (4-2, 0-0 Missouri Valley), and each squad traded sets to take the match to the decisive fifth.
“We were starting to get a good connection with our setter and our middle, so that was really pleasing for us,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said.
In the final set, the Sycamores jumped out to an early 5-2 lead, but the Hoyas came back with five straight points to go ahead 7-5. The teams traded points to tie the set 14-14, but Indiana recorded two kills to win 16-14 and clinch the match.
“I think that the biggest challenge with Indiana State was just being able to finish,” Williams said. “At the end, we just got really tense and we were right there in the match, we just could not capitalize on the opportunities that were given to us.”
The offensive trio of sophomore Lauren Saar and juniors Dani White and Alex Johnson continued its stellar production, totaling 35 kills, 38 digs and 11 blocks.
Freshman Shannon Ellis saw some floor action, compiling six kills and leading the team with eight blocks.
“Shannon Ellis was a huge momentum booster against Indiana State. She came off the bench and provided a spark on the floor with several huge kills and big blocks,” Williams said.
The Blue and Gray then took on North Carolina Central (0-8, 0-0 MEAC), looking for redemption for their tough loss earlier in the day.
Georgetown battled in the first set to pull away 25-17. They didn’t look back in the second, where they easily won 25-9 after a 15-2 run that included three straight service aces by redshirt senior Annalee Abell.
The Eagles made a push in the third set, but Georgetown stayed strong to finish the sweep 25-23.
“We talked about that game being about us and really just focusing on the details. Making sure that we hit our spots, making sure that we were taking good swings into the court, making sure that we’re executing passing lines,” Williams said.
Saar again led the push with 12 kills, while White added eight kills and five blocks.
“She just goes out, she works hard, she stays nice and steady and very even-keeled and I think that that gives her the ability to pass well for us,” Williams said. “She doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes and when she has an opportunity to go for it, she goes for it.”
On Saturday, Georgetown moved on to the finale of their tournament appearance against host Campbell (5-2, 0-0 Big South). The Hoyas came out to a stellar start, winning the first two sets and needing only one more to seal the deal.
“What we did just so well in the first two sets is we passed lights out,” Williams said. “And so we had three options, four options, to set on every single play, whether it was from our passing or in transition, and we ran with it.”
But after a rough start, Campbell responded and took the final three sets to win the match.
“They kicked their serving up a notch and we just could not get back into that passing rhythm the rest of the match consistently, and that was all the difference in the world,” Williams said.
For the third straight game, Saar led the team in kills with 15 and also tallied a team-high 29 digs. White had 14 kills, and freshman setter Caitlin Brauneis led all players with 50 assists.
Georgetown will seek to even their record this Wednesday in their home opener against George Washington (3-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10).
“It’s our first opportunity to be at home, and I know that we cannot wait for that. We’re going to be super high energy and ready to go,” Williams said.
If Georgetown can use its deep and experienced roster to finish games, they will be a formidable threat on the court. Williams is confident that her players will step up to the task.
“The majority of our hitters are upperclassmen who are experienced. They’ve been there before, and they’re really starting to understand how we do things at Georgetown, and we’re able to take advantage of that,” she said.
The Colonials are coming off a five set win over Elon and are led by senior Rachael Goss, who posted her second consecutive double-double of the season.
“George Washington is a tough team. They are experienced, they’ve got a very talented young coach, and so they’re going to come out fighting us,” Williams said. “They want to own the rights to D.C., and so I think we’re going to have a battle on our hands.”