Friday night saw the Hoyas (5-10, 0-3 Big East) fall in three straight games to the visiting Marquette Golden Eagles (7-8, 3-1 Big East), who held advantages in virtually all statistical categories. Back in the McDonough Gymnasium Sunday afternoon, Georgetown dropped a heartbreaker to rival Syracuse (4-16, 1-3 Big East). The 3-2 (22-30, 25-30, 30-24, 30-28, 15-13) decision ended an 11-game losing streak for the Orange.
The 3-0 (30-20, 31-29, 30-8) decision against Marquette does not do justice to Georgetown’s play, according to Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Hagan.
“The game actually went pretty well,” Hagan said. “We played at a much faster pace than we have before, so there were definitely some good things in that match.”
Senior middle blocker Annie Conner, who collected nine kills and a hitting percentage of .280, led the Hoyas for the night. Opposite Conner, junior middle blocker Kimberley Todd and freshman outside hitter Leslie Bielski combined for 28 kills and a .412 hitting percentage for the Golden Eagles.
In the first game against Syracuse Sunday, the Hoyas rattled off a six-point run on the serving of freshman outside hitter Dana Dumas to go up 17-12 and went on to win 30-22.
The teams traded points in game two, with neither team holding more than a three point lead, until Georgetown pulled away for a 30-25 victory.
The Hoya’s early success may have been because of a new formation Hagan implemented before the match. Hagan also switched freshman outside hitter Jessica Hardy to the libero position, while Syracuse expected Georgetown’s usual libero, junior outside hitter Kate Nulty.
“We jumped on them early,” Hagan said. “We showed them something they hadn’t seen before in running the 5-1 [unlike Georgetown’s usual 6-2, six-hitter formation] and Jessie Hardy playing the libero.”
The Hoyas came out after the break on fire as they built leads of 8-1 and 19-11 on the strength of five Connor kills. The Orange were down but not out, and they mounted a furious comeback. With Georgetown ahead 23-20, Syracuse went on a six-point run and soon won the game 30-24.
“The momentum just turned,” Connor said. “Syracuse did a great job in coming back.”
The fourth was another close game and neither team could gain a sizeable lead, but when the dust settled, the Hoyas were on the wrong end of a 30-28 dogfight.
In the decisive fifth game, Georgetown jumped out to an early lead, but Syracuse gained control to win 15-13. Two crucial serving errors by the Hoyas proved to be the difference in the loss.
“The fifth game we passed pretty well. It was just little errors here and there,” Hagan said.
The Hoyas were again led by Connor, who recorded a team-high 25 kills and a .281 hitting percentage.
“I was able to get up a lot easier because the rest of my hitters were taking the blocks for me and I got a lot more chances,” Connor said.
Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Buffum chipped in 16 kills and 11 digs, and freshman middle blocker Kiersten McKoy added 14 kills and a game high hitting percentage of .481. Hardy led the team in digs with 20 at the libero position.
Junior outside hitter Cheryl Cobbina carried the Orange as she provided 21 kills, a .230 hitting percentage and 12 digs. Junior setter Joscie Kaup added a game-high 28 digs.
As a team, Georgetown held slight edges in hitting percentage and errors, and the kills were even. Hagan again remained positive about her team’s play.
“We made significant changes from what we were on Friday night to where we were today with only an hour and a half worth of practice,” she said. “So I think once we get some more reps we’ll be good.”
The Hoyas will look for their first Big East win this Saturday as they travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. to face the Panthers (13-6, 2-2 Big East) at 2 p.m.