Georgetown University women’s volleyball (6-3) faced local rivals George Washington University (2-6) in a classic Washington, D.C. clash away at GW’s Charles E. Smith Center on Saturday, Sept. 9.
The Hoyas have been coasting on a wave of optimism this season, with a 4-0 record on the road and an overall record of 6-2 coming into the GW matchup. The Revolutionaries, on the other hand, entered the contest with a record of just 1-6 overall, hoping to continue their winning ways after earning their first win of the season over Old Dominion the night before.
Expectations were high, as around this time last year, the Hoyas pummeled the Revolutionaries in straight sets, 3-0.
However, the volleyball program has faced several changes since last year, including the hiring of new head coach AJ Bonetti, who is looking to turn the Hoyas’ program around this year. On the opposing bench was GW’s Katie Reifert, also a newcomer, who was named head coach at the beginning of 2022.
The Revolutionaries dominated from the get-go, leading the Hoyas the entire first set, and it never appeared that Georgetown threatened their early lead. GW steadily marched on, expanding their lead until they took the set with a score of 25-17.
The second set was much more action-packed. Georgetown came out looking much stronger than its opposition and jumped to an early 8-4 lead in mere minutes. However, midway through the second set, the Revolutionaries came back to tie it up at 16-16 and then stormed their way to win the set 25-22. The Hoyas quickly found themselves in a 2-0 hole.
The third set was Georgetown’s best set of Saturday’s showing, as they mustered a commanding 11-4 lead early in the set. As the set progressed, Reifert called multiple timeouts to help the Revolutionaries regain their presence, but it seemed like nothing could stall the Hoyas’ momentum. Graduate right side Peyton Wilhite had 11 kills by the end of the third set. The Hoyas took the set 25-10, which they hoped would spark a turnaround.
Unfortunately, in a script quite similar to the first and second sets, the Hoyas started off the fourth set down early to the Revolutionaries, as GW’s blockers took over the game and propelled them to a 7-2 lead. GW’s outside hitter Brittany Myers had a similarly effective game to the Hoyas’ Wilhite, reaching 9 kills midway through the fourth set.
In the end, the Georgetown comeback efforts fell short and the GW women opened up a larger lead on the Hoyas. The Revolutionaries took the fourth set 25-14, leading to a different outcome from last year.
Georgetown’s junior outside hitter MG Goyena, who had 10 kills in the game at GW, said the team showed its immense potential despite the loss.
“Although it’s hard falling short of the win, I think there were a lot of positives to take away from the match,” Goyena told The Hoya. “I think that third set showed that we can be a really dominant team when we execute our system, but now it is just a matter of being able to consistently replicate that level of play.”
“I think that it showed a lot of heart the way we were able to fight back and push the match to a fourth set, but against high-level teams, we have to remember that no one is just going to hand us the game, we have to go out and take it,” Goyena added.
Despite this weekend’s 1-2 record at the D.C. Showdown, Georgetown will look forward to traveling on the road and playing against the University of Pennsylvania, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Delaware State University in the Delaware State Tournament.
“I know we are all eager for the opportunity to bounce back and re-establish our identity as a program,” Goyena said. “We have been working hard in practice this week, and we are all excited to get back on the court and show what we can do.”
The team’s next match is on Friday, Sept. 15 in Dover, Delaware when they will take on the mighty Penn Quakers.