Sept. 18, 2013
WASHINGTON - Two wins in the Active Ankle Challenge have given Georgetown's women's volleyball team a fair amount of momentum as the Hoyas prepare to participate in the Blue & Gold Players Challenge Friday and Saturday. GU will make the trek to Morgantown, W.Va., to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers and the UMBC Retrievers in the final two contests before BIG EAST play gets underway.
The Hoyas moved to 6-5 on the season after a stellar appearance in Gainesville, Fla., last weekend. After battling, but falling to, No. 5 Florida, the Hoyas outlasted a top-100 team in Western Michigan in five sets after dropping the first two of the morning match, followed by a solid four-set win over Iona to close out the Challenge. Freshman Caitlin Brauneis, who faced her sister, Taylor, when the Hoyas and Gators met, collected All-Tournament Team honors after posting113 assists and 27 digs over the two-day tournament. The wins move GU to an impressive 4-1 on a neutral site this season.
The terrifying trio of Lauren Saar
, Alex Johnson
and Dani White
continue to lead the Hoya attack between the pins. Saar has racked up a team-high 136 kills, adding 151 digs and 17 total blocks for the Blue & Gray. Johnson has put together a solid season through 11 matches, totaling 122 kills and 123 digs to go along with her team-best 11 service aces behind the line. White, a preseason All-BIG EAST honoree, adds 118 kills, a team-best 35 total blocks (five solo), 34 digs and 10 service aces to the Hoyas' cause.
In the back row, libero MacKenzie Simpson holds down the fort with 169 digs, averaging nearly four per set. She has four kills and five service aces as well. Redshirt senior Annalee Abell has put together a solid season as well, slamming 50 kills and 13 blocks for GU. Freshman Ashlie Williams has made an immediate impact in her collegiate debut, totaling 30 kills and 16 blocks, which is good for second on the team.
The Mountaineers, hosts of the Blue & Gold Players Challenge, are a formidable opponent for the Hoyas. WVU comes into the weekend 10-1, having swept seven opponents, losing only seven sets all season. WVU is led at the net by Jordan Anderson, who has a team-best 147 kills on the year, with 109 digs. In all, seven Mountaineers have accumulated 25 kills or more this season. Brittany Sample has established herself as the go-to setter, propping up 402 assists so far. Caleah Welsh, Evyn McCoy and Nikki Attea have been terrorizing opponents at the net, combining for 122 blocks between the three.
With its 7-4 record this season, UMBC also looks to be a tough opponent for the Hoyas, as six of the Retrievers seven wins have come via a sweep. Ali Goc leads UMBC at the net with 107 kills, but Hannah Schmidt and Krystal Mlemchukwu are right on her tail with 96 and 94 kills, respectively. Defensively, Schmidt and Mlemchukwu have combined for 68 blocks together, while Goc and Casey Griffith led the squad with 158 and 121 digs, respectively.