Following Georgetown volleyball’s disappointing performance at the D.C. Showdown on Sept. 8 and 9, in which the team lost two out of three games, the Hoyas bounced back with three wins in as many games at the Delaware State Tournament in Dover, Del., on Sept. 15 to 16.
Georgetown (9-3) was able to sweep the tournament by winning their first two matches against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers (2-8) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders (6-8) in just three sets before grinding out a tough five-set victory against the Delaware State Hornets (7-7) to finish the weekend with a perfect record.
Georgetown held strong against gritty opposition and comfortably dispatched Penn in three sets (27-25, 25-22, 25-19) to begin its stellar weekend of play. The Hoyas began a step behind at the beginning of the match, with the Quakers jumping out to an early 10-7 lead in the first set to put them on their heels. However, Georgetown could not be denied and clawed its way back into the set to tie it up at 14.
That was not the final scare for the Hoyas, as the Quakers then got hot to end the game, taking a 24-22 lead. Once again, the Hoyas were prepared, taking five of the last six points and sealing the first set victory behind a kill from junior outside hitter Mary Grace Goyena.
The Hoyas found themselves in trouble again in the second set, down 21-19 to the resilient Quakers. They would require some more late-game heroics to ensure that the Quakers were unable to tie the match, and that is exactly what they achieved. The Hoyas scored five unanswered points and surged to a 24-21 lead before Goyena once again provided the game-winning kill, giving the Hoyas a commanding 2-0 set lead.
Georgetown did not pass up their opportunity to win in three sets against Penn, cruising to a 25-19 victory to end their day.
The Highlanders provided the first challenge to Georgetown Saturday morning as it scampered out to a 7-0 lead in the first set. Although the Hoyas looked to be in some trouble to begin their day, they refused to go down easily, climbing back to take a 17-16 lead after a kill from first-year outside hitter Grace Albaugh.
After a back-and-forth end of the game, Georgetown pulled through and won the first set 28-26 to spark confidence entering set two. The Hoyas rode this momentum on their way to two straight decisive victories over their next two sets, winning 25-17 and 25-19, respectively, to provide the Highlanders with the same fate as the Quakers.
The Hornets proved to be the biggest threat to the Hoyas during the weekend. Georgetown fought hard during the first set but was unable to overcome the strong play of Delaware State, who jumped out to a 1-0 set lead after a 25-22 victory.
However, this initial stumble appeared to wake up the rejuvenated Hoyas, who responded resoundingly with a 25-19 win to knot the sets at one apiece. Georgetown could not be stopped in the third set, taking a 20-17 lead after a kill from first-year middle blocker Kamryn Lee-Caracci. The Hoyas weathered the comeback attempts of the Hornets, holding them off to take a 2-1 set lead.
After the Hornets won a battle in the fourth set by a score of 30-28, the Hoyas entered the decisive fifth set with high energy, taking a 9-5 lead to start the game. With the fifth set ending at 15 points, the Hornets were unable to find their way back into the set, and the Hoyas calmly won 15-10 to remain perfect on the weekend.
Though every Hoya worked together to lead the team to three victories during the weekend, a few players had performances that particularly stood out. Junior libero Karis Park put on a stunning defensive performance, notching an impressive 50 digs to assist the Hoyas on the defensive end of the court en route to a Big East defensive player of the week award. Goyena provided the necessary assistance on the attacking side to supplement this stingy defense, with 31 kills in the three matches.
The Hoyas will look to carry their momentum into this weekend as they kick off Big East play with games at DePaul and Marquette on Sept. 22 and 23.