This past week marked a trio of key in-league matchups for the Georgetown Women’s volleyball team (13-10, 3-4 Big East), as the squad looked to make a surge into the top half of the Big East standings. While competitive in each match, the Hoyas ultimately failed to reach their goal, as losses in two of the three matches currently leave the team sitting in 10th place.
Georgetown began the stretch on the right note against West Virginia University (14-8, 4-3) on Friday, Oct. 8. Unlike the Hoyas, who are no strangers to down-to-the-wire matches this season, the host Mountaineers had come off five consecutive matches ending in a 3-0 score (winning two) leading up to the contest. Clearly in their comfort zone, Georgetown was able to pull out a narrow 3-2 victory in what was the epitome of a back-and-forth brawl, as neither team was able to take consecutive sets. The set scores for the match were 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 23-25, 16-14.
Junior setter Ashley Malone paved the way for the Blue and Gray with 54 assists and 15 digs to go along with a .625 hitting percentage for the match. Junior libero Tory Rezin contributed 19 digs of her own, while a Georgetown season-high 22 kills were posted by freshman outside hitter Brooke Bachesta in the highest single-game total of her young career.
Fresh off the sound victory, Georgetown traveled due north to face Pittsburgh (9-13, 4-3 Big East) two days later. The match had huge Big East implications, as both teams were jockeying for position in the middle of the league standings. The first two sets were back and forth, as was characteristic of the match, but poor hitting on behalf of the Hoyas prevented them from closing out either set. The ill-afforded slow start quickly left the Hoyas at a 0-2 set disadvantage.
Senior outside hitter Kortney Robinson sparked the Georgetown offense in the third set, posting three of her match-high 12 kills, while six digs in the set from Rezin got the defense clicking. With the set tied at 16, the Hoyas were able to capitalize on Panther errors to bounce back and take the third set, 25-22.
The Hoyas continued to ride their momentum, jumping out to an early lead in the fourth set. The Panthers remained close throughout the set, chipping away at the lead and pouncing on missed opportunities by the Blue and Gray. After tying the set at 16, Pitt went on to win five straight points and nine of the final 13 to clinch the set and, in turn, the match.
Rezin alone was strong once again, notching 39 assists to go with a .667 hitting percentage. Rezin improved upon her impressive total from the previous match to record 20 digs.
After a full week of practice, the Hoyas returned to action this past Saturday, Oct. 16, when they played host to South Florida (9-9, 5-2 Big East). A victory would prove crucial for the Hoyas, as it would propel them to the top third of the Big East ranks, where the Bulls were situated.
Improving upon their poor opening against the Panthers, the Blue and Gray came out of the gates strong on their home floor. Malone recorded 10 of her match-high 45 assists in the first set, while senior middle blocker Vanessa Dorismond came up with five of her 14 kills in the second set. The Hoyas took the first two sets 25-21 and 26-24 and were in prime position to garner a vital Big East victory. That is, until it all fell apart.
“USF just went on a run in the third set,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “We knew Allie [Boaz] on the right side was going to be a big factor for them and we just could not stop her – she had 21 kills. But the match was very close throughout, our middies played great, and we actually out-dug them, so there were definitely some positives.”
After the Bulls handily took the third set 25-15, the Hoyas temporarily regained their composure to make the fourth set a neck-and-neck battle. Georgetown was able to counter a 24-23 USF advantage and stay alive with a timely kill from senior outside hitter Samantha Trauth, only to drop the set two points later. With the momentum now entirely in their favor, the Bulls seized the decisive fifth set with relative ease, 15-10.
“We feel really good about where we are right now,” Williams said. “We have a tough road trip down to Louisville and then to Cincinnati at the end of this week, but after that we have what we feel will be a good stretch of games for us. We are seeing a lot of parody in the Big East this year, which we are not used to seeing, so everything is really up in the air right now.”
With a full week of practice ahead, the Blue and Gray look to prepare to bounce back this weekend against the Big East’s best. Georgetown first visits Louisville (11-5, 6-1 Big East) on Friday night at 7 p.m. Louisville is currently tied for first in the Big East standings with No. 21 Cincinnati (17-4, 6-1 Big East), who Georgetown will then travel to face on Sunday afternoon. The match is set for 2 p.m.