Sept. 20, 2013
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For the second time this season, the Georgetown women's volleyball team fought back from two sets down to force a final fifth set, but this time the Hoyas fell in the decisive frame. GU fought valiantly against the West Virginia Mountaineers, but the Blue & Gray ultimately fell in a 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 10-15) barn-burner.
"What this team does so well is show true grit," Head Coach Arlisa Williams said after the match. "How many teams get down 0-2 and stave off match point in the third? Or climb back from a 10-2 deficit in the fifth to within 3? That's grit. That's heart. What we need to continue improving on is showing that grit from the beginning so we don't find ourselves in the situation we were in tonight.
"With that being said, we did some good things. We passed well once again. We out blocked West Virginia. It's another learning experience but it only counts if we are truly learning and can apply what we learn the next time out."
Three Hoyas collected 10 kills or more as Lauren Saar came away with a match-high 16, in addidtion to her 19 digs, Dani White bombed 15 kills and Alex Johnson added 10 kills of her own. Annalee Abell played a crucial role in the GU attack as well, hitting a team-best .333 with nine kills, adding a season-high six total blocks defensively.
Also on the defensive end, the Hoyas, who out-blocked the host Mountaineers, got six denials from White, and three apiece from freshmen duo Ashlie Williams and Caitlin Brauneis. Brauneis also had 21 digs, second only to MacKenzie Simpson's stellar 24. Emily Gisolfi added her name to the ledger with her eight scoops.
"Annalee was good for us on the right," Williams said. "We had double digit kills from 3 different players, and MacKenzie was very good defensively with just under five digs a set, making some huge plays to keep us alive."
After a relatively even match to start out, West Virginia reeled off a 7-3 run to extend their lead to 12-7. Saar and Abell paced the Hoyas through the first set, allowing Georgetown to climb all the way back. GU made sure the Mountaineers wouldn't escape without a fight, grabbing eight of the final 11 points in the contest, including big kills from Ashlie Williams and Dani White down the stretch. But WVU eventually prevailed in the opening set, taking a competitive 25-22 victory into the switchover.
WVU jumped out to an early 10-4 lead to open up the second frame, but GU used a 6-0 run to knot things up at 10-10. The Hoyas got kills from White and Saar and used three Mountaineer errors to make the climb. The Hoyas won the next 13 of 18 points to take and extend its lead to 18-15, thanks to impressive ball movement on the attack, and stellar defensive plays from Williams, Simpson and Emily Gisolfi. Abell kept the Hoyas alive with a nice solo block down the stretch, but the Mountaineers took the second frame of the evening, 25-22, to take a 2-0 match lead into the intermission.
After trading blows to begin the crucial third set, West Virginia used a 5-2 run to extend its lead to 10-6, but kills from Saar and Williams cut the lead to 10-8. GU saw its own 5-2 run quelled by yet another run of the very same margin from the Mountaineers in the never-ending game of cat and mouse between the two squads. Down 17-13, the Hoyas used an incredible Simpson service run, including a timely blocks from White and Abell, to climb back into the contest. GU grabbed seven points in a row to take a much-needed 19-17 lead into the latter stages of the game. Not long after they fell behind, 21-20, the Hoyas raced back on the heels of a Johnson kill and combo-block from White and Brauneis to take a 22-21 advantage. Saar eventually erased a WVU match point with a timely kill, follwed closely by a Johnson kill and a Mountaineer error to clinch the set for the Hoyas in tense fashion, 26-24.
Playing at least a fourth set for the eighth time this season, Georgetown roared out to an 8-5 advantage over the hosts. But after WVU tied the score at 8-8, neither team held more than a three-point lead the squads traded points until the Hoyas took an 18-17 lead before a Mountaineer timeout. A mere three points later -- all belonging to Georgetown -- the Mountaineers called their final timeout to stop the Hoyas' surge as GU took a comfortable 21-17 lead.
The Mountaineers took advantage of good placement to begin the fifth and final set, racing out to a 6-1 lead, which quickly turned into a 10-2 advantage down the stretch. But once again, Georgetown took to a nice run of points, this time reeling off seven of eight points to get within two at 11-9. West Virginia eventually earned match point, and after a White kill kept the Hoyas alive, the Mountaineers took the final set, 15-10, and with it the contest, 3-2.
Georgetown returns to the Coliseum Saturday evening to square off with the UMBC Retrievers at 5:30 p.m.