The Georgetown volleyball team (6-5) stole the show this past weekend at the annual Blackbird Invitational, sweeping the competition while garnering individual accolades as well. The tournament was hosted by Long Island University (1-8) and also featured Yale University (5-1) and New Jersey’s Science and Technology University (1-8); Georgetown came away victorious in all three matches of the round robin.
Outstanding performances earned junior libero Tory Rezin, freshman middle blocker Elizabeth Riggins and sophomore middle blocker Lindsay Wise all-tournament team honors, with Rezin named as the tournament MVP.
“Tory did a great job for us this weekend,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “She passed extremely well, was very consistent in all three matches and then she played some great defense. Offensively, she allowed us to do some things that, had she not performed the way she did, we would not have been able to do.”
The Hoyas opened up tournament play Friday afternoon against Long Island, coming out of the gates strong and narrowly taking the first set 25-23 before running away with the second set 25-14 thanks to sloppy play from Long Island, as well as four kills and a .375 hitting percentage from freshman outside hitter Brooke Bachesta and four blocks from Wise.
The third and fourth sets were a different story, though. The Blackbirds fought through 10 ties in the third set alone, winning that and the fourth set 25-22 en route to equalizing the match.
The Hoyas avoided disaster in the fifth set as three service aces from senior outside hitter Samantha Trauth and two kills from senior outside hitter Kortney Robinson helped propel the squad to a 15-9 set win and a 3-2 match win.
“We just play mini games to five points,” Wise said when asked how the Hoyas were able to regain momentum and maintain composure in the heat of the fifth set. “The first game is to five points, then another to 10, and then the final to 15. We just concentrate on winning each of those few points in front of us.”
“It can get overwhelming if you just look at the big picture. We just try to take it play by play,” Riggins.
The Blue and Gray began Saturday’s competition against Yale, a formidable opponent who had yet to lose a game. After dropping the first set 25-20, the Hoyas stormed back to win the next three sets 25-22, 25-17 and 25-16, highlighted by a 9-1 second-set run to overcome an early five-point lead for the Bulldogs. Redshirt freshman blocker Annalee Abell tallied the winning kills in the second and fourth sets, ending with 11 on the afternoon to go with a .409 hitting percentage. Wise contributed 12 kills and seven blocks to the victory, while junior setter Ashley Malone posted a line of seven kills and 43 assists to go with five service aces and eight digs to help Georgetown avenge last year’s disappointing straight-set loss to Yale.
The Hoyas capped off an excellent weekend with a victory over a struggling NJIT squad later that afternoon, again winning three consecutive sets after dropping the first 25-23. Riggins led Georgetown with 15 kills and a .361 hitting percentage on the match, while Rezin concluded a sensational weekend with 28 digs and three service aces. Trauth’s serve had not cooled off from the Yale match, as she notched four more aces. Malone’s 46 assists and 10 digs were good for her fifth double-double of the season.
The win over NJIT was the Hoyas’ fourth consecutive victory overall and also made them the top finishers of the tournament. The winning has pushed the Blue and Gray over .500 for the first time this season after a disappointing 2-5 start.
“Any time we can get our record back on the winning side, it means good things for the program. We did some things well this weekend and displayed some fight that we hadn’t really seen previously this year,” Williams said. “I think that we’re on the right track, but we’ll only be able to determine that through how we practice, how we play tomorrow [against Virginia Commonwealth University], what we look like this weekend. But I think that we turned the corner.”
Georgetown will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Richmond, Va., today to take on VCU at 7 p.m.