Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Switch to Offense Has Been a Thrill For Hardy

“My mother always said, `You don’t show weaknesses on the court,'” sophomore outside hitter Jessica Hardy says.

Attacking the net and racking up kill after kill, the sophomore often exhibits the tenacity of a player hitting without fear. After a tumultuous 0-6 start to the season, Georgetown (4-10) has somewhat righted its ship and Hardy has led the recovery.

The resurgence of the Blue and Gray has in part been sparked by the phenomenal play of the versatile Hardy. She is second on the team with 111 kills, and first in digs with 143. Fellow sophomore outside hitter Dana Dumas leads the team with 160 kills.

Head Coach Arlisa Hagan Williams positioned Hardy at the libero position in the first few matches of the season, away from her natural position of outside hitter because the team needed her passing skills in the back line.

The experimented ended, though, after the losses began to mount. Williams switched her to outside hitter against Howard on Sept. 4. Hardy notched 15 kills, and the Hoyas captured their first victory of the year against the Bison.

“I have more fun playing outside hitter. I’m an aggressive person, and I can really take my anger out in that position,” Hardy said.

Williams knows what Hardy can produce on offense and has let her go for kills since the Howard game, but she is equally aware of the steady presence she offers on defense.

“Jessie has done a fabulous job at outside for us. I love using her in any position,” Williams said.

The team has not exclusively used one lineup this season and Williams is using the team’s youth to experiment with different lineups. Sophomore defensive specialist Allison Kern has taken on most of the libero duties. Freshman outside hitter Vanessa Dorismond burst onto the scene with 15 kills and a .636 attack percentage on Sept. 8 in a win against Iona. She has 24 kills in all of her other matches combined.

Junior setter and captain Caitlin Boland, recovered from a knee injury, is just now regaining the timing she is used to having midseason. The team has had different looks on the court but its goal of making the Big East tournament remains the same.

“We haven’t reached our peak yet. We still have some holes and gaps that this team needs to fill,” Hardy said. Georgetown looks to ride the wave of its recent success into Friday night’s match up against 8-4 Cincinnati.

The Hoyas have won three of their last five games, and enter this weekend’s contest at 4-10 overall.

Said Williams: “I have never had doubts about this team; this is a very, very fun group.”

With a challenging upcoming schedule, the Hoyas will need to rely on their team chemistry, a quality that Williams deems the team’s greatest strength. Georgetown will be challenged Friday by Cincinnati, a favorite to win the Big East.

The Bearcats are led by senior outside hitter Jenny Custer, who tallied a team high 16 kills in Cincinnati’s 3-0 victory over IUPUI. The senior also added 10 digs and hit .500 for the match. Junior middle blocker Jessie Nevitt also had a productive match as she racked up 14 kills while hitting .480 for the match.

Young and talented, freshman middle blocker Stephanie Niemer leads Cincinnati in kills, blocks and points accumulated over the season.

The Hoyas can look towards another competitive game Sunday when the Louisville Cardinals visit McDonough Gymnasium. Junior outside hitter Jana Matiasovska leads the team in kills and freshman defensive specialist Lindsey Mango has the most digs on the team. The Cardinals are 8-1 on the season.

Although the Hoyas face many difficult matches ahead, Williams remains upbeat, “[We have] grown in every single area,” she said. “Our hitting efficiency has increased, and we have learned the importance of being a low error team.”

Friday night’s tilt against Louisville is scheduled for 7 p.m. and Sunday’s afternoon matinee against Louisville is at 2 p.m.

Both games will be held in McDonough Gymnasium.

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