MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA Senior Dani White tallied 33 kills in three matches.
MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA
Senior Dani White tallied 33 kills in three matches.

The Georgetown women’s volleyball team began the Fullerton Classic with the opportunity to secure its first winning nonconference campaign since 2011. Despite strong performances from senior middle blocker Dani White and senior libero MacKenzie Simpson, the Hoyas (6-7) finished the weekend winless, dropping all three matches in California.

Georgetown began the tournament with a tough 3-0 loss against No. 22 University of California, Los Angeles (9-2). After dropping the first set, 25-16, and falling behind in the second set, 7-4, the Hoyas battled back to take a 23-20 lead.

Georgetown, however, was unable to close the set. The Bruins capitalized on the Hoyas’ three attack mistakes and managed to tie the set at 24.

After going up two sets to none in the match, UCLA did not look back. The Bruins used a 5-2 and 6-2 run to cruise to a 25-16 third set, finishing off the match in style.

In the loss, freshman outside hitter Terese Cannon, junior outside hitter Lauren Saar and White each contributed six kills, while Simpson tallied nine digs.

Georgetown returned to the court on Saturday to face off against tournament hosts California State University, Fullerton (6-7). In what was the first five-set match of the Georgetown’s season, the Titans outlasted the Hoyas and claimed the 3-2 victory.

After the teams went back and forth for the first four sets, they entered the final set with the match on the line. In the decisive set, Cal State Fullerton, led by freshman outside hitter Niki Withers, jumped out to an early 7-4 lead.

A strong defensive stand allowed the Hoyas to tie the set, 9-9. However, the Titans then went on a 6-2 run to close out the set, thus sealing the match win.

Georgetown was unable to avoid a winless weekend, as it also dropped its final match against Yale (4-5) 3-1.

In the first set of the match, the Hoyas dominated the Bulldogs, winning 25-11. Going into the second set, Yale University regrouped and Georgetown was unable to maintain its momentum.

The Hoyas committed 20 errors in the final three sets and were unable to recover. The Bulldogs squeezed out 25-23 and 26-24 set wins in the second and third set, respectively, before cruising to a 25-19 fourth set win.

Despite the disappointing weekend record, Head Coach Arlisa Williams is encouraged by the team’s performance.

“We actually had a good weekend. The record unfortunately, 0-3, looked like a bad weekend for us, but we did some really good things on the floor,” Williams said.

In the tournament, White finished with 33 kills and 11 blocks. For her performance she was named to the all-tournament team.

“We’re right in there, every set, every match. It’s crazy. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but it definitely gave us a lot of confidence, a lot of power, going into the Big East,” White said.

Simpson was equally impressive in the Fullerton Classic. In three matches, the senior libero had 45 digs, which increased her average to 4.4 digs per set — good for fourth in the Big East.

Having finished the nonconference portion of the schedule, the Hoyas will begin Big East play on Tuesday against Creighton University.

Creighton (7-6), who finished first in the Big East Volleyball Preseason poll, came off a third-place finish in the Creighton Classic this past weekend. After losing its first two matches of the weekend to No. 16 University of Illinois (8-3) and University of South Dakota (7-5), Creighton rallied in its final match to defeat Colorado University 3-0.

”It’s going to be tough. They have a tradition of success and they were at the top of the conference last year. They’ve got some big players but outside, in the middle and at the right, they’re going to be popping, they’re going to come at us with guns blazing,” Williams said.

The Hoyas’ performance Tuesday will perhaps indicate how competitive the team will be this season in the Big East.

Although Georgetown was projected to finish in the bottom half of the conference, it has impressed thus far this season.

Currently Georgetown, led by Simpson, is tied for first in the Big East in digs per set. This strong backline has been a staple in the Hoyas’ victories.

The Hoyas will look to maintain this defensive intensity when they take on the Blue Jays at 7 p.m. at McDonough Arena.

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