After the Hoyas picked up their first Big East win of the season Friday against the Scarlet Knights, they dropped a tough decision Sunday to the Villanova Wildcats, continuing a season plagued by inconsistency.
The win over Rutgers (8-20, 2-7 Big East) snapped a 12-match Big East losing streak for Georgetown (7-13, 1-7 Big East), and it was the Hoyas’ first Big East home win since they defeated Rutgers on Nov. 11, 2004.
“We feel pretty good,” sophomore outside hitter Jessica Buffum said. “We were having a good time and playing our game.”
In game one of the 3-0 win against Rutgers, the Hoyas hit five service errors and played from behind for most of the game. Senior middle blocker Annie Connor led the comeback from a late-game 26-28 deficit, as she accounted for three of the Hoyas’ final five points.
Junior outside hitter Katie Nulty recorded a service ace to give Georgetown its first lead of the game at 30-29, and Connor put away a kill on the next volley for a 31-29 victory.
Georgetown shored up its serving and held the lead for much of the next two games. The Hoyas won games two and three by comfortable margins of 30-22 and 30-19, respectively.
“It feels really, really good. It was a little slow coming, but it feels really, really good,” Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Hagan said, following her first career Big East win.
The Hoyas were led by Connor, who had game highs in kills (18) and hitting percentage (.516). Not to be outdone, Buffum recorded a double-double with 17 kills and 10 digs and an equally impressive .467 hitting percentage.
Georgetown’s .302 hitting percentage was the best the Hoyas have hit in a Big East match this year, and Georgetown held an advantage in every statistical category.
Against Villanova (12-12, 5-4 Big East), Georgetown came out with the momentum it built up on Friday night, and the Hoyas won game one 30-27.
The Hoyas took a quick 6-4 lead in game two, but Wildcat runs of 6, 4 and 6 gave Villanova a 23-9 advantage – and an eventual 30-16 win.
Game three was a battle, as neither team held more than a four-point lead. As the teams traded points near the end of the game, Buffum kept Georgetown alive with three points off of a tip, a kill, and a service ace.
It would not be enough, however, and Villanova took a 31-29 victory. Deflated, the Hoyas lost the first seven points of game four and never came close, as the Wildcats won 30-12 to take the match 3-1.
“It was a rough match,” Hagan said. “We had some very high moments where we played well. You saw that in game one. There were also some very low moments, and we had those in game two and especially with the rough start in game four.”
While the rest of the team struggled, Connor excelled for Georgetown, notching 14 kills and a .458 hitting percentage. Villanova was led by junior outside hitter Kacy Sellers, who recorded 19 kills and 10 digs, and hit at a .455 clip.
“It was frustrating,” Nulty said. “We played really well the first game, and I think we just let it get away from us.”
The schedule does not get any easier for the Hoyas as they search for some late-season stability. Their next match is Friday at 7 p.m. in Queens, N.Y., against league-leading St. John’s (23-1, 8-0 Big East). The Red Storm are on a 13-match winning streak and are undefeated at home this season.
Hagan’s players are not writing the St. John’s match off as a loss just yet.
“We’re going to be working on giving a more consistent effort all the way through. We’ve got what it takes; we just have to be there every point,” Nulty said. “Our team always plays up to our competition. We do well against teams that are supposed to be better than us.”