ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

It was a tough weekend of competition for the Georgetown volleyball team at the Gold & Blue Players Challenge in Morgantown, West Virginia.

After taking both West Virginia and UMBC to decisive fifth sets, the Hoyas lost both 10-15, bringing their record to 6-7 after their final tournament before conference play begins.

Georgetown lost two quick sets to West Virginia, putting them in the hole early. The Mountaineers looked for the sweep as they reached match point in the third set, but the Hoyas battled back to win it 26-24, giving them a chance to remain in the game.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about all year: showing true grit, going out there and working hard and not being afraid to really get in there and fight,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said.

The Hoyas stayed in the third set thanks to a seven point run, featuring a couple of well-timed combo blocks and key kills to give them the set.

The Blue and Gray stayed strong in the fourth set, winning 25-23, with the decisive point coming on a service error by the Mountaineers.

In the decisive fifth set, the Mountaineers led early 10-2, and while the Blue and Gray made it close, they could not finish the comeback.

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Saar had a double-double with 16 kills and 19 digs, White added 15 kills and junior outside hitter Alex Johnson had 10 of her own, while junior libero MacKenzie Simpson led the defensive effort with 24 digs.

“We actually out-blocked West Virginia, which was awesome. We passed extremely well, we played good defense and we hit very well too,” Williams said. “The difference in the game, in all honesty, was that we were just high-error. We made so many more mistakes than West Virginia did, and that cost us the match.”

Trying to brush off the close loss, Georgetown faced UMBC Saturday.

Early in the match both teams came out firing, but after five consecutive points, the Retrievers won the first set 25-18.

The Hoyas, however, had a five point run of their own in the second that propelled them to a 25-22 win to even things out at one set apiece.

Georgetown edged UMBC in the third after a White kill tied it up at 25 and Saar finished the set with a kill of her own, putting them up 2-1.

But the Retrievers bested the Hoyas in the next two sets, capitalizing on errors and stringing together impressive together impressive point runs to win the match in five.

“I’m not sure there was a difference between UMBC and the West Virginia match. We started out a little bit slowly, we got better in the second game, but we still are too high-error. We just made too many mistakes,” Williams said.

White had 16 kills and six blocks on the night, while Saar added 13 kills and 17 digs. Freshman middle blocker Ashlie Williams had five blocks and nine kills, and freshman setter Caitlin Brauneis led the team with 42 assists and 20 digs.

Georgetown certainly has the depth to be successful after consistently seeing multiple players in double-digit kills, strong blocking numbers and great defensive efforts.

“We’ve got some really fantastic numbers from a variety of players. It speaks to the depth that we have, and once we figure everything out, it’s going to be a really fun season for us,” Williams said.

But she also stressed that, regardless of the individual numbers the players are putting up, if the team can’t finish, statistics become meaningless.

“We’ve got to put all the pieces together. It doesn’t really matter about the individual performances if we cannot figure out how to win as a team,” she said.

“We have to play with confidence from the beginning to the end. I think this is a very talented team that we have, but we have to start out strong and stay that way.”

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