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

Vtyurina’s Backup Steps up as Hoyas Vex Cavs

Vtyurina’s Backup Steps up as Hoyas Vex Cavs

Reigning Conference Rookie of the Week Warner Takes Star’s Place, Leads GU Past Virginia

By Ted Bauer Hoya Staff Writer

The eyes of over 100 fans in McDonough Arena were transfixed on the white ball that descended toward the hard wooden floor. A sense of futility came over the crowd; this point, it seemed, would go to the University of Virginia in Tuesday’s night volleyball showdown.

But it was not to be. Sophomore setter Amy Schweitzer slid across the floor and extended both hands, batting the ball back toward one of her teammates, who launched it back into play. A lost point had been saved.

Schweitzer’s amazing hustle on a lone play in the fourth set of the Georgetown volleyball team’s energetic five-set victory over the University of Virginia Cavaliers exemplified the intensity the team displayed in running its overall record to 8-1.

“My team did a very good job, and we played with a lot of confidence,” said first-year Head Coach Li Liu. “Virginia is an awesome team from the [Atlantic Coast Conference] who has been playing very good volleyball this season, and defeating them was a real boost for us.”

Virginia entered the game with a 7-0 record and seemed ready to continue its perfection by challenging the Hoyas in the first set. Virginia senior co-captain Jessica Parsons and junior middle blocker Deanna Zwarich, both tall players, were singled out by Liu and assistant Daune Koester as focal points of the Virginia offense in pre-game tape viewing sessions.

“I think we shut them both down,” Liu said. The Hoyas predominantly play a “read defense,” in which each player starts in a set place and moves around the court based on where the ball is going, a strategy known as “reading the ball.”

“We were able to shut down their best players because all of us read their hits well,” said freshman standout Lauren Warner.

The Hoyas were able to capture the first set in a tight battle, 16-14, but lost focus in the second set, falling 15-8.

“In our only loss this season, to Kent State, we needed to work on losing our focus.” Warner said. “The same thing happened in the second set against Virginia.”

Georgetown regained its focus in the third set to win 15-6. Ahead 2-1 in games with a chance for the victory, the Hoyas got out to a quick 6-1 advantage on the spectacular play of freshman Warner and 6-foot-3 middle blocker Anna Kleinsorge, as well as the contributions of junior outside hitter Kiran Gill, whose jump serve excited the crowd.

Virginia closed the gap to 7-4, but Gill found a gaping hole in the middle of the box and dropped in a point which energized her entire team.

Junior middle blocker Kaili Stevens played aggressively at the net through the entire set, turning back a Virginia ball twice. Georgetown ran the score to 10-7, but its defense in the back corners of the box disintegrated late in the set, allowing Virginia to tie the score at 11. Virginia dominated the rest of the fourth set, capturing it 15-11 to even the games at two each.

The final set was tight at the beginning. Virginia managed to get the score to 2-1 on two errors by the Hoyas, among their 32 for the game.

“Thirty-two errors is way too many,” Liu said. “I think the ideal number of errors for a team to commit in a game is zero. We’re a young team, and we make mistakes, but we’re getting there.”

Sparked by Warner, who slammed a point down into Virginia’s box to put the Hoyas up 4-3, Georgetown went on a tear. Kleinsorge dropped a light shot into the center of the box, and Gill put up a point to continue the dominance.

Virginia, playing sloppy volleyball itself en route to 35 errors, was done in by a Warner ace, one of her eight on the contest, and dropped the final set 15-10 to give Georgetown the win.

Warner put up 48 kills and 21 digs during a four-match stretch, the last three as a replacement for Vtyurina, who sprained her ankle in warm-ups before Friday’s Georgetown Acumen Classic. Warner won Big East Rookie of the Week honors, was named to the All-Tournament Team for the Georgetown Classic last weekend, and is currently second on the team in kills per game.

“She’s very good for a freshman,” said Liu. “For a freshman to have 14 kills and 8 serving aces against Virginia is amazing. It’s so much fun to see her play on the court.”

“It was really flattering, and I didn’t expect it at all,” Warner said. “It was great because the whole team did rally around me for winning, and it’s a big honor.”

Schweitzer finished with 50 assists for the game, and Gill, Stevens and Warner all had double kill totals. Gill and senior tri-captain Kim Adams each had double digits in digs, indicative of a spectacular defensive effort. The team held Parsons and Zwarich in check, with each recording only 11 kills. The game-high 59 assists of Virginia senior Mary Frances Scott did not faze the Hoyas.

“There were many excellent performances,” Liu said, “one of the first being Amy’s passing. Kaili had a .364 hitting percentage, which is excellent for anyone, and Anna played great and improved her game from the Kent State loss. Lauren’s eight aces were very impressive as well.”

Despite the team’s early season success, this weekend’s Maryland Invitational is going to be one of its toughest challenges yet. On Friday, the Hoyas play University of California at San Diego, currently the No. 18 team in the nation. A member of Warner’s club team from home in California is on the team, and another friend’s sister is the starting setter. Warner’s knowledge of these two players and the Hoyas’ many California natives may not be enough, however, as UCSD’s outside hitters are among the best in the nation.

“Because of this, those that play the corners on defense are going to need to step up,” said Liu, in reference to Warner, Kleinsorge, Adams and Gill. “I am looking to them to get digs. We also need to continue to serve well. We’re going into this game with nothing to lose and a chance to improve our program’s standing; we just have to play our game.”

On Saturday in the tournament, the Hoyas face host Maryland, Koester’s alma mater.

“It’s going to be an emotional game,” Liu said, “and it’s a battle of the older people vs. the younger people. They play in a tough volleyball conference, the ACC, but I think we can beat them if we stick to our game.”

 

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