Sep 6, 2013
BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The Georgetown women’s volleyball team (2-3) has become accustomed to close matches so far in 2013, but none have been closer than Friday’s contest between the Hoyas and Indiana State in the opening match of the Campbell Tournament. GU and ISU battled through five sets, but it was the Sycamores who came out on top, 3-2 (25-16, 17-25, 25-21, 19-25, 16-14).
As has been the case, the Hoyas leaned on their triple threat of Dani White, Alex Johnson and Lauren Saar to produce the offense. Saar landed 13 kills to lead GU, adding 13 digs defensively. White hit a team-best .310 with 11 kills, totaling six blocks as well, and Johnson herself had 11 kills, leading the squad with 21 digs.
Caitlin Brauneis again got into the mix, leading the Hoyas charge with 36 assists, adding 10 digs as well. Libero MacKenzie Simpson held her own and tallied 20 digs defensively. Freshman Shannon Ellis got her first significant action of her career, totaling six kills (hitting .231) and a team-high eight blocks.
After the first set began quickly for the Hoyas, who grabbed the match’s first point when Saar landed a kill off of a Brauneis set. From there, the two squads battled back and forth. Indiana State briefly took a 10-6 lead after a GU service error, but two Sycamore attack errors and a Brauneis kill pulled the Hoyas within one at 10-9. But ISU went on a lofty run, claiming nine of the next 10 points in the set to pull ahead 20-11; six of those nine points against GU came by way of errors. Eventually, ISU would take the set, 26-16.
The Hoyas bounced back with fervor, however, ringing the bell in the second set. Alex Johnson had the Blue & Gray jumping out of the gate to a 5-0 lead on her serving run, including two timely aces, to start the important swing game. GU extended its lead to 10-2 after freshman Shannon Ellis earned her first kill of her collegiate career during a Dani White serving run. The Sycamores got as close as 15-7, but GU powered its way to a 25-17 win after a Johnson kill, MacKenzie Simpson service ace and a Dani White kill finished things off.
With things knotted at 1-1 in the tournament’s opening match, the Hoyas kept on rolling to start the third frame. GU rapidly extended its early lead to 6-1 after three straight ISU errors and a Saar kill, but the Sycamores slowly made their way back, eventually taking an 11-9 lead after a lengthy run. After Johnson landed a kill to pull the Hoyas within 19-17, the Sycamores rallied again to stave off the Blue & Gray. Saar recorded two consecutive kills, both set up by Brauneis to make things interesting at 24-21, but Cassandra Willis gave ISU the set win with a kill of her own.
The fourth set brought with it an even closer battle between the two squads. After four ties to open the frame, Georgetown rallied and took ahold of a 13-8 lead after White and Johnson stood tall at the net to block a Kynedi Nalls shot. The Hoyas never looked back in the crucial set, never giving up the lead. ISU made a run to make it 18-16, but a timely timeout called by Coach Williams, coupled with Saar and Johnson kills and a White and Brauneis block, got the Hoyas rolling again, eventually taking a 25-19 set win to preserve the match.
In a race to 15 points, the two schools duked it out in the fifth and final set. Indiana State jumped out to a 5-2 lead early, but once again, a well-timed timeout from Coach Williams settled the Hoyas down. Simpson set up Johnson for a nice kill to give the Blue & Gray a 7-5 lead and some momentum. But the Sycamores would not step down, tying the set up at 11 a side. Six points later, a 14-14 tie opened up, but the Sycamores claimed the final two points to narrowly escape with the five-set victory.
The Hoyas look to bounce back this evening with a 5:30 p.m. date with NC Central, which is still looking for its first set win of the season.