The Georgetown volleyball team (8-5) emerged as winner of the Coca-Cola Classic this weekend, defeating Appalachian State (7-6) on Saturday and recording two comeback wins over James Madison (8-4) and Eastern Tennessee State (6-8) on Sunday. The tournament was hosted on JMU’s campus in Harrisonburg, Va.

“Overall I think it was a wonderful weekend. We executed our game for the most part … we just played some gutsy volleyball,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “We performed every single skill well and had a solid performance all the way around.”

The Hoyas were led by the play of their middle blockers, which was made clear when freshman Dani White was named Tournament MVP. Senior libero Tory Rezin and sophomore outside hitter Brooke Bachesta also earned all-tournament honors.

“Dani had a fantastic offensive effort, Tory did a very good job of leading our team and on Sunday [Bachesta] was a rock star,” Williams said.

In their opening match of the tournament, the Hoyas defeated the Mountaineers in straight sets, 25-22, 27-25, 25-23. Even though they didn’t drop a set, the match was close throughout for the Blue and Gray, with the score being tied 15 times and the lead changing hands a total of 38 times.

Senior setter Ashley Malone recorded 34 assists for Georgetown to go along with six digs and three kills. The Hoyas also continued their season trend of an even kill distribution, as four players totaled seven kills or more — a balanced attack that would continue throughout the tournament.

“What was exciting about Ashley’s play [was that] she was extremely consistent, she found our hitters’ windows and she found our hot hitters,” Williams said. “We just overpowered Appalachian State.”

In their second game of the tournament, Georgetown dropped the first two sets to JMU but were able to rally and win the final three sets to take the match, 21-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 15-10. The Hoyas had an impressive hitting percentage of .314 on the match, including a very strong .550 percentage in the decisive fifth set, where they finished off the Dukes.

The Blue and Gray also significantly outdug JMU, 78-47, and it was the improved defense after the second set that allowed the Hoyas to come back and win the game.

“We always talk about ‘defense wins games,'” Williams said. “Our team put forth a great defensive effort, and when you can win the transition game, you’re doing some good things.”

Freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson aided the Hoyas offensively and defensively, notching 16 kills and 13 digs.

Fresh off their win against the Dukes, the Hoyas went right back to the court to play the ETSU Bucs. The Blue and Gray again lost the first two sets, but once more showed their character by taking the final three. The final match score was 19-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-11.

Bachesta led the way for the Hoyas offensively with 15 kills, while White posted 10 to go along with a .421 hitting percentage. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Annalee Abell aided with 11 kills and a .381 percentage.

The teams’ strength training with coach Sean Foster and their conditioning exercises helped them remain steady through two back-to-back five set matches.

“Without [the teams’ training], I don’t think we would have been able to make it,” Williams said.

Georgetown will look to capitalize on the momentum of a successful non-conference season when they travel to Notre Dame on Saturday to begin league matches.

“Anything that is thrown our way — fast, scrappy, savvy, powerful; you name it, we’ve seen it,” Williams said. “Everything this preseason has allowed us to prepare for Big East play.”

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