MacKenzie Simpson tallied a match-high 24 digs against DePaul
Oct. 21, 2012
WASHINGTON - An outstanding all-around team effort propelled the Georgetown University volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep over BIG EAST foe DePaul (7-15, 2-7 BIG EAST), snapping a 14-game losing streak. The Hoyas improved to 7-15 overall and 1-8 in the BIG EAST with their first conference win of the season and first home win Sunday afternoon at McDonough Arena.
"Finally!" exclaimed Head Coach Arlisa Williams following her team's 27-25, 25-20, 25-17 win. "They should be really proud of themselves. We scored a lot of points, and played low-error volleyball. That's what we needed to do."
Sophomore middle blocker Dani White (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) continued her stellar weekend, racking up 11 kills on a match-high .381 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Alex Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Plant) tied DePaul's Vesela Zapryanova's match-high of 12 kills, including six in the first set.
The Hoyas played great defense, led by sophomore libero MacKenzie Simpson (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford), who displayed exceptional passing skills from the back row. Simpson led all players with 24 digs--a career-high for a three-set match--nine of which came in the final frame. Freshman Emily Gisolfi (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) added 11 digs, also a three-set career-high.
"When we're in system, we can set all three of our hitters and we can make Haley an offensive threat," said Williams of the team's passing proficiency. "It just makes us harder to guard." Junior setter Haley Lowrance (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunnyslope) helped put on the passing clinic as well, recording 42 assists to go along with 10 digs and three kills.
The first set was anything but easy. The Hoyas came out with confidence and battled the Blue Demons early, but DePaul would make GU work for every point. After Depaul scored two to tie it at 22, Williams called timeout. Finishing and consistency have been themes for the Hoyas in practice, and they found themselves in a familiar situation late in the opening set. The team responded immediately, winning the next two points to put GU a point away from a 1-0 lead.
With the Hoyas leading 24-22, DePaul now called time as they would try to salvage the set. They made it interesting by scoring the next two and tying the set at 24, but GU would go on to take the 27-25 victory.
GU built an 8-3 lead early in the second set, and would hover around that five-point margin throughout the set en route to the 25-20 victory.
Sensing that victory was within reach, GU came out aggressively in the third set, earning a 14-6 lead. They maintained their composure and came up with timely points to keep the lead comfortable.
The Hoyas out-blocked the Blue Demons seven to four, and had just 14 attack errors to DePaul's 16. Junior Annalee Abell (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay) and Sophomore outside Elizabeth Riggins (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) provided depth up front, recording nine kills apiece.
Allyson Rooks led DePaul's defense with 23 digs, and Zapryanova added 10 to give her a double-double.
"We've just got to take the confidence that we have after this, and take it one day, one point, one practice at a time. That's all we can do."
The Blue & Gray look to build on their momentum as they remain in Washington next weekend for two conference matches. Marquette comes to town Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m., followed by Syracuse Sunday, Oct. 28 at noon.
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