The Georgetown volleyball team (9-16, 3-9 Big East) suffered a discouraging 3-0 loss at the hands of a talented Creighton Bluejays (18-7, 11-1 Big East) team, that currently occupies the top spot in the Big East standings.
Georgetown freshman outside hitter Terese Cannon registered team highs with 11 kills and two blocks, while senior outside hitter Alex Johnson added nine kills. The Hoyas played without senior co-captain and libero Mackenzie Simpson, who suffered an arm injury in the team’s loss to Marquette on Oct. 26. Simpson’s replacement, junior Emily Gisolfi, recorded 15 digs against Creighton.
The shorthanded Georgetown roster was able to stay close to Creighton for the majority of the first two sets. The first set was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team was able to establish a significant lead. The teams found themselves tied at 13, before Creighton reeled off a 7-2 run to establish a 20-15 lead. After the Hoyas fought back to shrink the lead to 21-17, the Bluejays finished the set by winning four of the final five points, ending with a score of 25-18. Creighton’s 6-foot 4-inch sophomore middle blocker Lauren Smith led her team with five kills in the first set.
Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Williams was pleased with her team’s passing in the early going.
“In the first set, we came out and we passed extremely well. [Gisolfi] had nine digs in that set, we were in system and we could take great big swings. That was what allowed us to stay close in the first set,” Williams said.
Creighton started fast in the second set, racing out to a 21-13 lead and appeared to be well on its way to closing out the set comfortably. However, Georgetown fought back, winning six consecutive points to shrink its deficit to 21-19. Three points later, a kill by freshman setter Casey Speer tied the set at 22, capping an impressive 9-1 run.
However, the Bluejays came out of a timeout to regroup and earn three consecutive points, as freshman outside hitter Marysa Wilkinson recorded two blocks and a kill to finish the set, 25-22. Still, the Hoyas showed fortitude when fighting back. Williams praised the team’s defense.
“In the second set, we out-dug Creighton, and we served extremely well, which made it more difficult for them to terminate balls,” Williams said.
Creighton’s talented hitters and blockers still made things difficult for Georgetown in spite of its dogged effort and determination. Creighton’s 6-foot 4-inch senior middle blocker Kelli Browning, who ranks 16th in Division I with 1.41 blocks per set, had five blocks in the second set, becoming the second player in Bluejays history to record 500 blocks during her career.
“We had really good communication all around, going back to our blocking fundamentals, because that’s when we were getting blocks,” Browning told gocreighton.com after the game.
Creighton was able to win the third set more comfortably, starting with an early 12-7 lead before closing out the set and the match, 25-16. Cannon recorded four kills in the set, but it was not enough, as Creighton earned its 24th consecutive home win at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Bluejays Head Coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth was satisfied with the outcome.
“Anytime you can get a sweep at home, it’s a good thing,” Booth told gocreighton.com after the game.
Georgetown was short-handed in the loss, with only seven players seeing the floor for the Hoyas. Williams acknowledged that Simpson, a three-year starter who has recorded 1,369 digs in her career, represents a significant absence in the Hoya lineup.
“[Gisolfi] has some big shoes to fill; Mackenzie’s done a great job in our libero position. She’s been a starter there since her sophomore year,” Williams said.
However, Gisolfi played extremely well in her first full game as Simpson’s replacement.
“I think that Emily did a fantastic job. She played a composed, steady game of volleyball and did exactly what she needed to do,” Williams said.
The Hoyas will continue to adjust and improve as they move into another challenging weekend on the road. Williams emphasized her team’s focus on persistence and determination.
“We’ll continue to focus on our skills and make sure that our personnel are confident when they take the floor and do everything we can to make sure that we’re a frustrating little team that won’t go away,” Williams said.
Georgetown will continue its five-game stretch of road contests at Butler (17-8, 9-4 Big East) next Friday, Nov. 7.