Oct. 25, 2014
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown volleyball team had its hands full on Friday evening when it took on DePaul in a BIG EAST Conference match at McDonough Arena. After dropping the first set, the Blue & Gray battled to a thrilling 3-2 (24-26, 25-23, 26-24, 26-28, 15-11) win over the Blue Demons behind career nights from several Hoyas.
Terese Cannon (Pittsford, N.Y./Our Lady of Mercy) led all players with 29 kills, shattering her previous career high of 20. Casey Speer (Durham, N.C./Riverside) set personal bests with 64 assists and three service aces while also adding 10 digs and three blocks. MacKenzie Simpson (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) blew past her previous career high, registering 36 digs to lead the GU defense. Alex Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Plant) finished with a double-double with 18 kills and 16 digs and also had three aces. Lauren Saar (Richland, Mich./Plainwell) contributed 14 digs and two aces. As a team, the Hoyas had 11 service aces.
Georgetown (9-14, 3-7 BIG EAST) jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first set behind two kills by Cannon and one each from Speer and Ashlie Williams (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) as well as a service ace by Emily Gisolfi (Allentown, Pa./Parkland). DePaul (3-19, 1-9 BIG EAST) began chipping away, never letting the Hoyas extend their advantage. The Blue Demons eventually tied the score at 22, behind a 6-2 run, and took the lead on an attack error by Williams. A kill from Cannon fought off a set point, tying things at 24, but DePaul won the set on a block and kill.
The Hoyas trailed 12-7 in the second set before coming all the way back to knot the score at 20-all on consecutive kills from Dani White (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) and Cannon. Cannon led the comeback with four kills while Saar added two kills and Speer had a kill and an ace. After a DePaul timeout, another kill by Cannon gave GU its first lead of the set, 21-20. With the score tied at 23, a DePaul service error and kill by Speer gave the Hoyas the set win, 25-23, to tie the match at one.
The third set started out the same as the second as the Blue Demons opened with a 13-9 lead. Two more kills from Cannon, as well as one apiece from Williams and Johnson, pulled the Hoyas to within two at 15-13. Following three-straight points from DePaul, extending the deficit to 18-13, GU answered right back with a 3-0 run of its own on a kill by Johnson, a dual block from White and Speer and a solo block by White. The score remained close, with DePaul maintaining a slight edge, until with the Blue Demons holding a 23-21 lead, back-to-back kills by Williams and Johnson evened things at 23. Another killy by Johnson saved a set point before a DePaul error and service ace by Saar gave the Hoyas the set, 26-24, and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Two kills from Cannon and two aces by Speer helped the Hoyas open a 5-1 lead to start the fourth set. DePaul fought back, however, and tied the score at nine before using a 5-0 run to take a 16-11 advantage. Trailing 17-12, GU used a 7-1 run of its own to jump ahead 19-18. Cannon had three-straigh kills to lead the charge while Shannon Ellis (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood) added a kill and Gisolfi put down another ace. DePaul went back ahead, taking a 24-21 lead, but two errors and a Johnson ace fought off three set points and tied the score again at 24. The Hoyas battled two more set points, but could not overtake the Blue Demons, falling 28-26, to take the match to a deciding fifth set.
Back-to-back service aces by Johnson opened the fifth set and gave Georgetown a 2-0 lead. Kills by Ellis, Johnson and Speer helped extend the lead to 10-6. Ahead by two at 12-10, two more kills from Cannon and another from Johnson ended it, giving the Hoyas a 15-11 win in set five.
"I think that we showed so much heart tonight," said Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Williams. "We were confident that we could take this and knew that if we did our job on our side of the ball, then we would come out on top. This team has been working really hard at practice to make sure that we are finishing and playing with intensity."
The Hoyas will conclude their four-match homestand on Sunday. The Blue & Gray will host defending BIG EAST Champion Marquette for a 1 p.m. match in McDonough Arena.