After a disappointing 2012 season, the Georgetown volleyball team begins the season this weekend with the D.C. Volleyball Challenge. The team will first play George Mason on Friday night and then take on American and Howard in a double-header on Saturday.
The opening game against George Mason will be played on the Patriots’ home turf in Fairfax, Va., at 7 p.m., where the Hoyas will look to repeat last year’s performance against the Patriots, taking a quick lead and winning 3-0. George Mason finished last season with a 5-20 record.
In their second game of the weekend, Georgetown faces an American team that brought a record-setting crowd of 2,483 to AU’s Bender Arena last year. In last year’s match, the Hoyas started strong and then fought off the Eagles’ comeback attempt, taking the match 3-0. Although this year’s 11 a.m. matchup will not draw the same crowd, the Hoyas still face a solid Eagles team that is returning 11 players from last year and has been ranked first in the Patriot League preseason poll. The Eagles finished the 2012 season with a 21-10 record.
Georgetown will finish the weekend with a home matchup against Howard — who did not compete in last year’s D.C. Challenge — at 5 p.m. Although the Bison finished last year with a 12-12 record, they struggled all season while on the road, losing all of their 11 away games.
As the Hoyas enter the new season, they look to improve on the 7-21 record the team posted last year, though team will miss the presence of the recently graduated middle blocker Lindsay Wise, a four-year starter and senior captain. Head Coach Arlisa Williams retained many of the key players from her 2012 roster and maintains that the absence of Wise has a silver lining.
“What they learned is that we don’t necesarily need a title to have a leader,” Williams said.
Among the returning veteran talent is junior middle blocker Dani White, who will look to build off last year’s performance, during which she posted a team-high 107 blocks.
“She is a dynamic athlete, and she only got better this summer,” Williams said. “I think it is a well-deserved recognition, but — as Dani points out — she can’t do it without her teammates.”
Georgetown’s early wins in last year’s tournament propelled the team to a five-game winning streak to start the season, and though they are eager to again start the season on a high note, Williams knows it will be no easy task.
“It’s not going to be a walk in the park for us by any means,” Williams said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
After the D.C. Volleyball Challenge’s conclusion, the Hoyas will travel to Lynchburg, Va., on Tuesday, Sept. 3 to face another non-conference foe: Liberty, a team that posted a 25-8 overall record last season and an impressive 12-2 Big South Conference Record.
The Flames defeated the Blue and Gray last season in an exciting, but ultimately disappointing, four-set match, when the Hoyas managed to snag the second set but ultimately came up short against an impressive opponent.