Georgetown’s volleyball team (9-18, 3-11 Big East) suffered two difficult losses over the weekend, falling in straight sets to Butler (18-9, 10-5 Big East) on Friday, and Xavier (16-11, 9-6 Big East) on Saturday. The team has now lost four consecutive conference matches to four of the top five teams in the Big East standings.
The Hoyas were led Friday by sophomore middle blocker Ashlie Williams, who finished with nine kills, and freshman setter Casey Speer, who notched a double-double with 28 assists and 11 digs. In addition, junior libero Emily Gisolfi played her second straight game with double-figures for a total of 13 digs.
In the first set, the Hoyas quickly fell behind, as Butler used 5-1 and 6-0 spurts to jump to a 16-6 lead, which proved to be insurmountable as the Bulldogs closed out the set by a score of 25-15. In the second set, the Hoyas fought back, earning a 14-12 lead after kills from freshman outside hitter Terese Cannon and senior outside hitter Alex Johnson.
However, Butler won the next four points, grabbing a 16-14 lead that it would never relinquish en route to a 25-21 second-set triumph. Throughout the match, the Bulldogs displayed the effective blocking ability they have used throughout their season, as they recorded 11 team blocks, led by redshirt sophomore middle blocker Kayla Bivins, who notched six blocks.
“Butler played really well against us. Their block was very strong, and so we had to focus on using hands and hitting different shots. We struggled with that early on; I think we did better as the game went on, but they just played a really solid game,” Cannon said.
The third set was tight throughout its duration, as neither team was able to gain a lead larger than two points until the Bulldogs opened up an 18-15 advantage. After the Hoyas closed to 18-17 on a kill by Johnson, the Bulldogs grabbed seven of the final nine points in the set to take the victory, 25-19, and swept the match in straight sets.
Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Williams praised Butler’s performance. The Bulldogs entered the match having won six of their previous seven conference matches, and they continued to play their best.
“They’re solid all the way across the net. Butler has three good blockers across the net in almost every rotation, and there aren’t very many matchups that we can take advantage of,” Coach Williams said.
On Saturday in Cincinnati, the Hoyas received a standout performance from Cannon, who earned her first career double-double with team-highs of 11 kills and 11 digs. Cannon, normally an offense-minded player, was able to be effective as a defender as well, which she attributed to solid blocking up front and good team play all around.
“Our block was pretty solid, so it was easy to play defense around that, and my teammates were helping me out a lot,” Cannon said.
Speer added 30 assists, and senior middle blocker Dani White had seven kills and three blocks.
Georgetown came out flat in the first set, quickly falling behind with a score of 12-4. As a result, Xavier cruised to a relatively comfortable 25-14 victory in the first set. In the second set, the Hoyas stayed close to the Musketeers, as a kill by Cannon brought them within two points at 12-10. However, the Musketeers won six of the next seven points to create a separation and earn an 18-11 lead, which they eventually parlayed into a 25-15 set victory.
“I think it took us a while to get going. It’s a bummer that that happened, but now we know, and we can learn from it, and moving forward I don’t think that will happen again,” Cannon said.
In the third set, Xavier jumped to a 16-12 lead before Cannon recorded four kills in a span of six points to knot the score at 17. The teams volleyed back and forth for several points before a Musketeer attacking error gave the Hoyas a set point at 24-23. After a timeout, however, Xavier won three consecutive points to close out the set and the match.
Georgetown will complete its five-game stretch of Big East road games next weekend against middling St. John’s (18-11, 7-7 Big East) and bottom-tier Providence (5-23, 1-13 Big East). According to Coach Williams, the Hoyas are motivated to earn a few more wins to end their season on a high note.
“We’re hungry every day, and we know that we can play with both of them, and we’re going to go out there and play at the highest possible level,” Coach Williams said.