Georgetown’s volleyball team (10-21, 4-14 Big East) split its conference matchups over the weekend, falling to Seton Hall (27-6, 15-3 Big East) 3-0 on Friday before defeating Villanova (13-20, 6-12 Big East) 3-0 on Sunday to end its season on a positive note. The final matches of the season mark an emotional time for the Hoyas, who say goodbye to six players, including five members from the class of 2015.
On Friday, senior outside hitter Alex Johnson led Georgetown with 16 kills, the highest amount in the match. Freshman outside hitter Terese Cannon added 10 kills, and freshman setter Casey Speer recorded 39 assists and 12 digs.
Seton Hall received valuable contributions from senior outside hitter Stacey Manthorpe, who had 12 kills and 14 digs, and her twin sister, senior setter Shelbey Manthorpe, who registered 10 kills and 39 assists.
In the first set, the Pirates earned a quick 8-3 lead and held the Hoyas at arm’s length for much of the game. However, after Seton Hall gained a set point at 24-20, Georgetown won four consecutive points, highlighted by a kill and a service ace from sophomore middle blocker Ashlie Williams. Despite the late run from the Hoyas, the Pirates won the next two points to grab the set by a score of 26-24.
The second and third sets were less contentious than the first set as Seton Hall grabbed early leads that Georgetown could not surmount. The Pirates shut out the Hoyas in the last two games 25-18 and 25-21, respectively, and swept Georgetown.
Nevertheless, the Hoyas were optimistic about their performance against one of the best teams in the Big East.
“We played with a lot of heart tonight, and I hope that we can come out and win against ‘Nova on Sunday,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s wish was fulfilled as the Hoyas came through with one of their best performances of the season in a decisive defeat of Villanova. Senior middle blocker Dani White finished her career on a high note, leading the team with 10 kills along with two blocks. Johnson added eight kills and 10 digs.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair until the Wildcats were able to grab a 23-19 lead with a 5-0 run. However, after a timeout, the Hoyas rallied to win the next six points to win the set 25-23.
“We had to take care of our side of the net,” Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Williams said of the team’s performance in the first set. “We wanted to hit over their outside hitters, because they’re the weaker blockers, and we wanted to take advantage of that and stay aggressive.”
The Hoyas carried over their momentum from the end of the first set into the second set, earning an early 10-4 lead that they never relinquished en route to a 25-19 set victory.
The third set was a tight contest between the two teams until Georgetown won nine of the final 13 points. The Hoyas won the third set 25-19 to close out the match in straight sets.
White was thrilled to earn a victory in her last match as a Hoya.
“It’s everything, to be able to go out with my teammates and take care of business. It was a really clean game,” White said. “We had a definite purpose today. We wanted to make sure that everything was memorable.”
The Hoyas say goodbye to a special group of seniors. In addition to White and Johnson, outside hitter Liz Riggins, libero MacKenzie Simpson and defensive specialist Kieley Culbertson all played their last matches as Hoyas on Sunday.
The match against Villanova was also junior right side hitter Alyssa Gerardi’s last match as a Hoya. Gerardi will study abroad next season.
The players from the class of 2015 made an enormous impact over the course of their time on the Hilltop. White finishes her career with 1,093 kills, 350 digs and over 400 blocks. Johnson recorded 1,183 kills and 1,082 digs in her four years, becoming one of a select few Georgetown volleyball players to record both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. Simpson registered 1,369 digs in her career, despite an arm injury that shortened her senior season.
However, they have been more than just a group of good players. The five seniors combined earned 12 years of recognition as Big East Academic All-Stars and have been excellent representatives of the university off-court.
“This senior class has done a great job of helping us move this program forward. I know that the wins did not come as often as they wanted them to, but this group worked hard, they’ve been good people on the court, off the court, in the classroom – they’re just a great group of young women,” Williams said.