WASHINGTON – A day after a tough, season-opening loss to a ranked opponent, the Georgetown volleyball bounced back for a pair of victories on Saturday to complete the D.C. Challenge. The Hoyas opened the day with a 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 25-13) win over George Mason before sweeping Howard in straight sets (25-13, 25-16, 25-15) to improve to 2-1 on the young season. Both matches were played at George Mason’s Recreation Athletic Complex.
Georgetown 3, George Mason 1
For the second-consecutive match, Lauren Saar (Richland, Mich./Plainwell) led the Blue & Gray with 11 kills. She completed the double-double with 20 digs. Dani White (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo), Ashlie Williams (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) and freshman Terese Cannon (Pittsford, N.Y./Our Lady of Mercy) all had nine kills and White added six blocks, including two of the solo variety. Caitlin Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) had her second-straight double-double with 39 assists and 10 digs. MacKenzie Simpson (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) tied for the match lead with 23 digs, reaching the 1,000-dig milestone for her career. Alex Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Plant) was also in double figures with 11 digs.
The Hoyas jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set on a service ace from White, a kill by Williams and five errors by the Patriots. George Mason fought back to pull within one at 14-13, but a kill from Saar gave Georgetown some breathing room. The teams traded points back-and-forth until a White kill gave the Hoyas a 25-22 set victory.
After George Mason tied the match with a 25-22 win in the second set, the two teams played a tight third set that featured 11 scoring ties and five lead changes. The score was knotted at 16 before the Blue & Gray rattled off four-consecutive points. White led the run with a kill and back-to-back service aces and Saar added a kill. The Patriots would not go away however, fighting back to within one at 24-23, but a ball-handling error gave the Hoyas the set victory and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Georgetown jumped out to a 5-0 advantage in the fourth set on kills from Williams and Cannon as well as an ace by Saar. The lead was still three, at 15-12, before the Hoyas closed out the match on a 10-1 run for a 25-13 set win. Cannon had three kills and two block assists in the final run while White had two kills and three blocks. Freshman Casey Speer (Durham, N.C./Riverside) also added her first-career ace.
Georgetown 3, Howard 0
Saar reached double-digits in kills for the third time in three matches this season, leading the Hoyas with 10. White had eight kills, without a single attack error, for a .471 hitting percentage. She also had six total blocks for the second time second time on Saturday afternoon. Brauneis put together her third double-double effort with 22 assists and 12 digs and Simpson led all players with 15 digs.
In the opening set, after Howard jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Georgetown responded with a 15-3 run to open up a commanding 15-6 advantage. Five different Hoyas had kills in the streak and the Blue & Gray teamed up for three blocks, including two each for Brauneis and White. With the score 16-10, the Hoyas closed out the set on a 9-3 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Cannon and White led the offense with two kills apiece. White also added two more blocks, teaming up with both Brauneis and Cannon. Shannon Ellis (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood) also contributed a kill and Simpson added a service ace.
The second set was tight until a 5-1 run by the Hoyas gave them a 12-9 lead. Saar, Ellis and Williams all had a kill in the stretch and Williams and Ellis combined for another blocks. Both teams traded a point before Georgetown strung together four-consecutive to open a 17-10 advantage. White started the run with back-to-back blocks, one each with Ellis and Cannon. Kills from Ellis and Cannon eventually gave the Hoyas a 25-16 victory in the set and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Georgetown had to battle back in the third set after facing an early 7-3 deficit. Trailing 11-7, the Hoyas went on a 8-1 run to take a 15-12 lead. Two kills by Cannon and one each from Williams and White fueled the comeback. Simpson also added an ace. Ahead by just one at 16-15, kills from Brauneis and White, as well as two aces by Johnson put Georgetown in control at 20-15. Following a kill by George Mason, kills by White and Saar and a block by Brauneis and Williams helped the Hoyas close out both the set and the match.
The Blue & Gray return to action next weekend when they travel to Philadelphia for the Crown Plaza Philadelphia West Invitational, hosted by Penn. The Hoyas will take on Cleveland State on Friday afternoon before playing Colgate and Penn on Saturday.