The Georgetown volleyball team (10-9, 2-4 Big East) will head to Villanova (12-8, 4-2 Big East) this weekend to take on the Wildcats on Saturday. The short trip to Philadelphia’s suburbs will be a relief for the Hoyas, who are coming off a long weekend during which they traveled to Marquette and Syracuse.
The Blue and Gray fell in straight sets to Marquette, but rebounded with a thrilling five-set win over rival Syracuse to cap out the weekend. The team will look to ride that momentum into their contest with the Wildcats.
“We played well, just inconsistently against Marquette,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “But we shook it off … and went out and played a tough Syracuse team and came out on the winning end.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcats come into the match on a three-game losing streak. Their season has been up and down thus far, as a steady preseason gave way to four straight league victories. Villanov’s recent losses have come at the hands of Syracuse, Marquette and William and Mary.
However, the Hoyas are expecting a very tough match and do not think their opponents’ recent struggles will have a bearing on the outcome of the match.
“The fact that they lost three in a row will only make them that much more hungry. They are going to come out ready to battle,” Williams said. “Villanova is extremely well coached, and those girls go out and play.”
The Wildcats have been strong offensively this year, particularly in sharing the ball. They average an impressive 11.7 assists per set, and have also averaged 12.7 kills per set while their opponents have only put up 11.2.
Individually, senior and defending Big East libero of the year Kim Maroon anchors an equally strong Villanova defense, as she has totaled 481 digs while adding 114 assists. Redshirt junior outside hitter Morgan Petkovich leads the team in kills with 218, while senior middle blocker Maggie Mergen has posted 206 with a .237 hitting percentage.
“[Maroon] is really solid defensively. Their middles are also very good for them,” Williams said. “[Villanova Head Coach Josh Steinbach] has any number of people that can step in and make it tough for us if their game is on.”
However, Williams noted that the Hoyas will primarily focus on their own play rather than worry over what Villanova will do. She stressed defensive discipline as well as a continuation of their solid passing and strong play from the hitting positions.
“We need to take care of the things we can control and put ourselves in a position to stop what they are good at,” Williams said. “They are extremely confident in their passing, so we need to make sure we go after them with our serving.”
As they have done all year, the Hoyas will look to senior libero and captain Tory Rezin to stabilize their defense, and will rely on senior setter Ashley Malone to create kill opportunities for their hitters. Freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson currently leads the team in kills and hitting percentage, but the Blue and Gray have gotten consistent production from all five of their hitters this year.
The match is slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday at Villanova’s Jake Nevin Fieldhouse, and Williams thinks the game will prove thrilling for the crowd.
“Josh always gives us a great match. It’s always a battle [against Villanova], and I’m looking forward to taking them on again this year,” Williams said.