The Georgetown women’s volleyball team faced off against a strong Xavier team Sept. 30, ultimately falling short, but not before putting up a fight in front of the home crowd at McDonough Arena on Homecoming Day.
The Hoyas (11-5, 2-2 Big East) came into the match fresh off a win against Butler and were looking to continue building their momentum. On the other bench, the Musketeers (10-5, 3-1 Big East) hoped to rebound from a loss against Villanova.
Georgetown started off the game in dominant fashion. Mary Grace Goyena finished the set off with a massive hit, and the Hoyas cruised through with a 25-16 victory, having kept a steady lead throughout.
The second set also saw the Hoyas take command of the Musketeers, though the set was tied 10-10 about halfway through the set. Xavier eventually took the lead 20-19, but Georgetown took a timeout and turned it around to win the set 28-26.
Although Georgetown needed just one more set to clinch the sweep, the Hoyas struggled to maintain their momentum in the third set, falling to a 0-5 deficit early in the set. The Musketeers never relinquished their lead and won the set 25-19 to put pressure on the Hoyas.
A similar storyline played out in the fourth set: the Musketeers came out stronger and were able to outlast the Hoyas 25-21, tying the game and setting up a winner-take-all fifth set.
The Hoyas, facing the pressure of giving up a two-set lead, looked calm entering into the final frame. The Hoyas and the Musketeers traded points for much of the final set, with the score knotted at 11.
However, Xavier’s coach ultimately challenged a touch, and the Musketeers snatched the point from the Hoyas, going up 12-10. The Hoyas were unfazed by the challenge, rallying to tie the game, 15-15. Desperate to see Georgetown finally clinch the victory, the crowd at McDonough rumbled with excitement as most fans were on the edge of their seats.
Ultimately, though, with a missed Hoya serve and continued excellent play by Xavier, the Musketeers closed out the game, 17-15, and completed a remarkable comeback.
After the game, Georgetown Head Coach AJ Bonetti acknowledged the need for his team to find more offensive contributors.
“We had two girls that had over 20 kills in a five-set game. That’s pretty unbelievable production, so good to reinforce that we can score points when we need to,” Bonetti told The Hoya. “I think something that we need to work on is finding more people on the team that are capable of scoring that type of way, you know. It can’t just be two.”
As Bonetti alluded to, several Georgetown players had standout performances despite the loss. Graduate right-side hitter Peyton Wilhite and junior outside hitter Mary Grace Goyena had over 20 kills, both contributing massively to the Hoya’s scoring on Saturday.
On the defensive end, junior libero Karis Park continued her stellar season with a season-high 23 digs. In addition, the Hoyas ended up out-blocking the Musketeers 14-13, with first-year middle blocker Kamryn Lee-Caracci leading the team with 6 blocks and first-year setter Emily Wen tallying a career-high 5 blocks in the game.
Still, Bonetti remains as firm in his belief in his players as ever.
“I think they just have an insatiable desire to be better and to represent this school in a way that hasn’t been represented in a long time, especially from the volleyball side of things,” Bonetti said. “I think they really want to showcase who they’ve known to be and to do it to other people, to other teams in the Big East.
“This is another step in that journey,” Bonetti added.
That next step in their journey begins on Oct. 6, when the Hoyas will take on Providence College (6-10, 0-4 Big East) at McDonough Arena at 3 p.m. The next day, on Oct. 7, the Hoyas will continue their homestand against the University of Connecticut (5-11, 0-4 Big East) at 5 p.m.