The Georgetown volleyball team fell in two close matches last weekend to open up Big East Conference play at home against the Butler Bulldogs and Xavier Musketeers. The Hoyas demonstrated a strong performance but fell just short of victory in both matches, which became five-set battles.
While both games showed a valiant effort by the Hoyas, they fell short on account of attacking and defensive fronts. As games drew long, defensive errors became more frequent, making it more difficult for the Hoyas to scrap their way into close matches.
Senior outside hitter Iva Vujosevic continued to deliver with 23 kills in the Butler (5-11, 2-2 Big East) match Friday, Oct. 4, yet another double-double for the season, followed next by sophomore outside hitter Elissa Barbosa, who had 13 kills. On defense, sophomore libero Jessica Cusi led the team as she fought her way into an astounding 22 digs. Freshman defensive specialist Kelly Chen contributed an impressive 12 digs.
While the Hoyas fell quickly in the first set 25-15, as they looked shaky, they were able to fight their way back into a loss in the second set of only 25-23. In the third and fourth sets, the team rallied to win 25-21 and 25-20, demonstrating again the resilience and strength it has shown in Big East matches up to this point. However, the team’s energy and momentum fell as it dropped the last set 15-12 to lose the match.
The Hoyas returned to the court Saturday, Oct. 5, this time for their DIG PINK! match, in which players wore pink jerseys and pink Georgetown logo T-shirts were distributed for free to spectators. The game was meant to bring awareness to breast cancer awareness month, as the team also raised funds in support of breast cancer research. The opposing Xavier Musketeers also wore jerseys with pink numbers.
Whereas the Butler match was a defiant comeback on the part of the Hoyas, the game against Xavier (5-9, 2-2 Big East) was more back-and-forth, with both teams continuing to match each other’s energy, long rallies and controversial calls made by referees that occasionally had both coaches storming along the sidelines.
The Hoyas found a worthy opponent in the Musketeers and were unable to find their rhythm when they needed it most. However, the defensive effort, scrappiness and determination to not let the ball hit the floor in this game showed optimism for the future with this team. The Hoyas as a team posted an impressive 104 digs, a season-high for all Big East teams.
This game found playing time for freshman players like freshman middle blocker Kace Boland, and Chen brought her dig total to 30 on the weekend. Freshman setter Emma Plutnicki paced the offense with 37 assists and 15 digs, her seventh double-double of the season. While Vujosevic still contributed 12 kills in this game, she was more inconsistent and could not quite get into her rhythm.
Georgetown narrowly topped Xavier in the first set 25-23, while Xavier won the second two 26-24 and 25-20. The Hoyas fought back to a 25-20 fourth-set victory, but fell to Xavier in the fifth set 15-8. This loss leaves their Big East record as 1-3 this season.
After these two matches, the Hoyas continued their Big East skid, losing 3-0 to Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., on Wednesday, Oct. 9, to drop their Big East record to 1-4 on the season.
Georgetown will return home Wednesday, Oct. 16, to take on the St. John’s Thunderbirds.