When asked last week about the upcoming volleyball season, Head Coach Arlisa Williams said she likes opening the season with the D.C. Volleyball Challenge because it gives her a chance to see — right from the get-go — how her players stack up against good teams. After decisive wins over American and then George Mason to take the tournament title over the weekend, Williams must be happy with what she saw.
In the opener against AU on Friday, the Blue and Gray were unfazed by a record crowd in the Eagles’ packed home gym. Georgetown posted three identical 25-19 sets to take the match, 3-0. Although the win came in straight sets, the game was still competitive, with the third set a particularly nail-biting affair.
Junior setter Haley Lowrance, playing her first game for Georgetown since transferring from Haverford, helped the Hoyas into a good rhythm in the first set, tallying 13 of her game-high 32 assists in the period. The team did not trail in the second set, but American did close what was once a six-point gap to come within one at 20-19.
But that was as close as they’d come, as sophomore outside hitter Alex Johnson — who had seven kills in the frame — helped her team go on a 5-0 run and put a quick end to AU’s hopes of taking the set.
The Blue and Gray faced an even steeper challenge in the third set, when the Eagles took their first lead of the match. American led by as much as three at 15-12, but Georgetown bounced back from there, and senior middle blocker and captain Lindsay Wise ultimately provided the match-winning kill.
In addition to Lowrance, Johnson and Wise, sophomore Dani White also had a big game for the Hoyas, providing seven blocks and four kills on the night.
Saturday’s game against George Mason was all about Wise. The middle blocker recorded 14 kills on the afternoon and hit .667 to lead her team to another straight-set victory.
“Lindsay was a rock star today. We had a conversation this morning, and she just went out and played,” Williams said. “[And] it showed in her attacking and her block touches that didn’t show up in the stat line.”
In her second start for the Hoyas, Lowrance once again proved a key component, pitching in with 26 assists, four service aces and nine digs.
In the first two sets, George Mason put up a good fight, leading at times in both and pushing hard against Georgetown especially in the second, when the final score was 25-23. White would end the second-set threat with a spike, though, and the Blue and Gray cruised in the third, leading by as much as 11 points and comfortably winning it, 25-19, to bring home the trophy.
“I think that we played well,” Williams said. “There were times when we got down, but what I like about this team is they kept fighting back and never let the pressure get to them.”
With one confidence-boosting tournament behind them, the Hoyas will have a week of practice before heading back into action Friday, when they play Campbell in the first match of the Tribe Invitational. The game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in Williamsburg, Md.