WASHINGTON - Georgetown University's volleyball team wrapped up the 2017 Georgetown Classic with split on Saturday. The Hoyas swept Coppin State 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-17) to open the day before closing out the event with a tough five set loss to Buffalo (25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12).
Symone Speech (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts over the weekend. She averaged 3.23 kills and 1.00 blocks per set while hitting at a solid .393 clip in three matches.
Match 1 -- Georgetown 3, Coppin State 0
Georgetown rebounded from Friday's thrilling five set loss to James Madison with a sweep over Coppin State. Every Hoya on the roster saw action in the match, with Speech leading the way with nine kills and Claire Mihm (Rolling Hills, Calif./Chadwick Schools) adding a career-high seven. Five other GU players notched at least three kills with Riley Wertzberger (Dallas, Texas/Richardson) and Alyssa Sinnette (Pearland, Texas/Dawson) recording four each.
Speech, Wertzberger, Mihm and Aima Eichie (Castle Rock, Colo./Rock Canyon/UC Davis) all hit at least .500 in the match and none of the four committed an attack error against the Eagles.
Georgetown took control of the match from the opening serve, scoring the first two points before taking a 9-3 lead to force a Coppin State timeout. The Hoyas would lead 12-3 before the Eagles could manage back-to-back points and CSU never scored more than two points in-a-row the entire stanza. Five different Hoyas recorded multiple kills in the frame, led by Speech with four. Mihm and Emily Herrington (Gainesville, Fla./St. Francis Catholic) came on strong off the bench, combining for four kills and a service ace, as GU hit an impressive .500 in the frame.
Margo Pivonka (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) took the reins of the offense for the last two sets and did not disappoint. The freshman setter finished the day with a match-high 20 assists, four digs, three kills and three service aces.
The Hoyas continued to have the hot hand to open the second, jumping out to a fast 12-3 lead. Coppin State found a groove after that, putting together a 6-1 run to pull within four points, down 13-9. After trading a pair of points each, Georgetown would put the match away from there, scoring 10 of the final 13 points to seal the set victory.
Following an early 2-0 lead from Coppin State, the Hoyas put together runs of 5-0, 9-2 and 4-2 to take an 18-10 lead in the third set. The Eagles would muster a late rally, but couldn't make up the deficit en route to the 3-0 sweep by the Blue & Gray.
Match 2 -- Buffalo 3, Georgetown 2
Georgetown closed out the tournament with another five set affair, its fourth in nine matches so far this season. Speech led the Hoyas with 22 kills and a career-high eight blocks, both match highs, while Sinnette added 16 kills. Higareda led all players with 26 digs while Wertzberger added 10 on the outside.
Buffalo took the early lead in the opening set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead before GU pulled even at 7-7 on a Madison Smith (Elk Grove, Calif./Elk Grove) kill. The Bulls responded with a 5-1 run, only to be countered with a 4-1 spurt by the Blue & Gray to pull within one, down 13-12. Battling back-and-forth, both squads saw a 22-22 tie courtesy of a Sinnette kill but UB scored the final three points of the frame to take the first set 25-22.
Georgetown came out swinging in the second set, posting runs of 4-2, 4-1 and 7-2 to hold a strong 17-10 lead. Buffalo answered back with a 4-1 run of its own, but the Hoyas one-upped their guests with a 5-1 outburst punctuated by a block from Speech and McKnight to lead 23-15 en route to a 25-19 set victory.
The third set saw seven ties and three lead changes throughout, including late at 20-20. A 3-0 run from the Bulls put them in the driver's seat, staving off GU's late set comeback attempt.
A highly competitive beginning of the fourth set saw UB lead 7-6 before the Hoyas began to put the pressure on. A 6-2 run, highlighted by a pair of kills and a block from Sinnette, followed by an 8-3 run capped with a Speech service ace, gave Georgetown a 20-12 lead. Buffalo wouldn't be able to pull within any closer than four points the rest of the way as the Blue & Gray forced a deciding fifth set for the second time in the tournament and the fourth time this season.
Georgetown took an early 3-1 lead in the race to 15 but UB answered with a 4-0 run to take a 5-3 advantage and force a Hoya timeout. Coming out of the huddle, GU rattled off five of the next six points to take an 8-6 lead at the switch. Buffalo knotted things up at 8-8 and both teams would swap points until 12-12 before the Bulls scored the final three points of the match to claim the victory.
Polina Prokudina led the Bulls with 19 kills while Andrea Mitrovic added 12.
The Hoyas return to action next weekend at the Rice adidas Invitational II in Houston, Texas. The Blue & Gray takes on Arkansas State and Stephen F. Austin on Friday before facing the host Owls on Saturday.
Georgetown Classic All-Tournament Team
Taylor Austin, James Madison (MVP)
M'Kaela White, James Madison
Taylor Gail, James Madison
Megan Wenette, Buffalo
Andrea Mitrovic, Buffalo
Symone Speech, Georgetown
Marlena Guice, Coppin State