Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL | Squad Splits Home Matches

The Georgetown women’s volleyball team opened conference play at home last weekend with a historic win against the Butler, followed by a close loss to Xavier.

On Friday night, the Georgetown Hoyas (7-9, 1-3 Big East) welcomed the Butler Bulldogs (12-5, 2-3 Big East) for an exciting five-set victory, marking the first time in program history that the Hoyas defeated the Bulldogs. The Hoyas rounded out the weekend with a four-set loss against Xavier (7-11, 2-3 Big East).

Georgetown came out strong on Friday, easily claiming the first set, but Butler fought back to win the second set and even the score.

The Hoyas won the third set in their most effective offensive showing of the five, tallying 16 kills. Junior outside hitter Olivia King, junior outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette and junior middle blocker Symone Speech contributed four kills each in the third set.

Butler gained momentum and ran away with the fourth set capitalizing on Georgetown’s service.  In the fifth and final set, Georgetown found themselves down 13-10, but they showed their grit by coming together after a timeout to win the set by a margin of 15-13, securing the victory.

Sinnette led the Hoyas’ attack with 17 kills followed by Speech’s 13. King and sophomore middle blocker and right side Madison Smith both added eight kills to the number. Junior setter Paige McKnight put up 43 assists and dug out 17 balls for her eighth double-double of the season.

Defensively, junior libero and defensive specialist Kenzie Higareda also achieved double digits with 16 digs and graduate student middle blocker Aima Eichie made an impressive five blocks.

Speech said she never doubted her team’s ability to recover from the deficit.

“I was really, really calm.  I had complete faith in my team,” Speech said. “We were sitting in timeout and I was like guys I believe in you and we should believe in each other and we’re going to go out and we’re going to win this game, and that’s what happened.”

Head Coach Arlisa Williams said she was proud of her players’ performance on Friday.

“I’m happy about what our team did coming out, we just came out strong and played a really good game of volleyball and I’m happy with the way they finished,” Williams said. “The fact that we were down at the split and then trailing 13-9 to finish the set that just talks about their commitment to this, their unity, their grit and so I’m really proud of those things.”

Williams said the win was a result of key contributions from a number of players.

“Paige McKnight digging some balls back there and Kenzie stabilizing us,” Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of good pieces and it’s just putting everybody together at the same time.  Madison Smith played extremely well. They kind of found her a little bit in the fourth and fifth set, but she played so great early on and we’re really, really happy to see her do that and then the serving runs from Claire, that really helped us a lot.”

However, Georgetown failed to carry Friday’s momentum into Saturday’s match against Xavier (7-11, 2-3 Big East). The Hoyas fell at home in a high-scoring, four-set match to the Musketeers, dropping them to 7-9 on the year and 1-3 in the Big East.

Georgetown’s first set against Xavier was close throughout, with no team leading by more than four points for the duration of the set. The Musketeers eventually won 25-23.

The second set was also a battle. The Hoyas found themselves down 20-19 and were ultimately unable to pull out what would have been their first set victory.

The next two sets both went to extra points with 33 combined ties and lead changes. The Blue and Gray won the third in an overtime triumph but dropped the fourth set after being tied 26-26.

Speech saw her fourth match of the season with at least 20 kills as she led her team offensively with 23 kills. Smith put down nine with King’s eight close behind. Sinnette and freshman outside hitter Riley Wertzberger each contributed seven kills.

McKnight yielded yet another double-double with a match-high 50 assists and 14 digs. In addition, two more Hoyas dug up double digits.  King pulled in 13, while Higareda had 25 in addition to leading the team with her four service aces.

The Hoyas return to the court Wednesday for another Big East matchup. They will travel to New Jersey to take on the Seton Hall Pirates(8-9, 2-2 Big East).

The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Walsh Gymnasium.

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