After losing last year’s setter and libero, Georgetown’s volleyball team had questions to answer at last weekend’s D.C. Volleyball Challenge. But after notching two wins in two games, the only question about these Hoyas is if they can finish better than they did last season.
Riding high on confidence and boasting a deep and talented roster, the Blue and Gray will get to test their potential this weekend against three opponents in the Tribe Invitational at William & Mary.
“We have really focused during the preseason on making few errors and executing at a high level,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “Our team went out and did that [last] weekend.”
For the first time in seven years, Georgetown went undefeated in the D.C. Challenge, sweeping American and George Mason with back-to-back 3-0 wins.
Not only did the team execute well, but four Hoyas — sophomore outside hitter Alex Johnson, junior outside hitter Brooke Bachesta, junior setter Haley Lowrance and senior middle blocker Lindsay Wise — were named to the all-tournament team, while Johnson was tabbed as the Challenge’s MVP. Lowrance, a transfer from Haverford, wowed with 58 assists in her first two games.
“We knew that [Haley] was going to be able to play, but we did not know how good she was going to be,” Williams said. “She led our team in digs, she ran our offense and she made great decisions getting our hitters one-on-ones.”
Georgetown will now look to keep the ball rolling in a series of matchups with Campbell (2-2), Manhattan (1-2) and William & Mary (1-3) this weekend.
The Hoyas’ first opponent will be Campbell, a team with a unique style that provides some unconventional challenges. The Camels are an offensive-minded team whose players often look for quick opportunities to go for kills.
“We are going to have to make sure that we are taking good swings, that we are covering and that we are ready to play defense,” Williams said.
Manhattan, which is still rebuilding in its third year under Head Coach Mark Jones, will not be a walkover for the Blue and Gray, but it does seem to be a bit overmatched.
It’s the final game of the tournament versus William & Mary — better than its record suggests — that is always a tough one on Georgetown’s schedule. They are a physical team and share a recruiting homebase, meaning that several players on both sides have been competing with each other since high school.
“Those players know who we are here at Georgetown, and they are going to be hungry [to beat] us,” Williams said. “So, we are just going to have to come out and fight all weekend.”
If the Blue and Gray want the success of last weekend to become a pattern, they will have to practice intensely and take every opponent seriously.
“Our players are going out every day, and they are working hard,” Williams said. “They are coming in with a purpose every single time they touch the ball.”
The Hoyas look to bring that approach to the courts in Williamsburg, Va., where their first match against Campbell is set to take place Friday at 4:30 p.m. Saturday features a doubleheader for Georgetown, which faces Manhattan at 12:30 p.m. and William & Mary at 7 p.m.