Off to an impressive start, Georgetown’s volleyball team (5-0) has already won two tournaments, including last weekend’s Tribe Invitational. But a tougher test looms for the Blue and Gray this weekend in the ThirdDegree Sportswear Invitational, beginning on Friday in Richmond.
“I think if we put in the work, we can do great things,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “But we have to put in the work.”
For the first time in her seven years at Georgetown, Williams has won the first five games of the season: Georgetown defeated Campbell, Manhattan and William & Mary last weekend.
The Hoyas’ first match of the Tribe Invitational was their toughest, as the Camels surprisingly took the first set and applied intense pressure throughout.
“[Campbell] exposed some of our weaknesses,” Williams said. “But we were able to bounce back and capitalize on it. But it was a little daunting at first. [Sophomore blocker] Dani White went off, and I think that she saved us.”
White was named the tournament’s MVP as a reward for her stellar play throughout the weekend. Fellow sophomores MacKenzie Simpson, a libero, and Alex Johnson, an outside hitter, joined White on the all-tournament team.
The numerous individual accolades the Blue and Gray picked up in the season-opening D.C. Challenge as well as this weekend’s Tribe Invitational demonstrate a new depth in this year’s squad.
“It is the first time in a long time that we have actually had many people at every single position,” Williams said.
All of those players will be called upon this weekend if the Hoyas are to stay undefeated, as they face tougher tests from Appalachian State (1-6), Virginia (3-3) and, above all, VCU (6-1) this weekend.
“The whole weekend is going to be a more competitive weekend for us than last weekend was,” Williams said. “The teams we are playing are a little bit higher in the rankings, and they are going to throw some things at us that we did not see this weekend.”
Appalachian State, Georgetown’s first opponent, should also be their easiest one of the tournament. The Mountaineers are young, inexperienced and most likely overmatched against the Hoyas.
While Virginia has had its ups and downs early this season, the Cavaliers are physically dominant and capable of beating anyone. That means the Hoyas will have to double down on the mental resolve they showed last weekend against Campbell and William & Mary.
“Virginia is significantly bigger than we are at every single position,” Williams said. “So we are going to have to get used to a really physical team.”
The final match of the invitational is against the host, VCU, and promises to be a compelling showdown between two teams off to very good starts this season.
The Rams’ lone loss this season came at the hands of South Florida, but VCU played well below its talent level in that game, and Georgetown must be prepared for a tough match.
“VCU’s passing game is on, and they have always had the athletes that can terminate balls, so we are going to have to get ready to play some defense,” Williams said.
The Hoyas face Appalachian State today at 4:30 p.m. in Richmond, Va. Tomorrow is the challenging doubleheader, with Virginia at 11 a.m. and VCU on the schedule for 7 p.m.