As the campus celebrates Homecoming this weekend, the Georgetown volleyball team (7-11, 1-4 Big East) faces two crucial conference matchups. The Hoyas face the Marquette Golden Eagles (11-6, 3-2 Big East) on Friday at 7 p.m. and the DePaul Blue Demons (12-5, 1-4 Big East) on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Georgetown is coming off consecutive losses to St. John’s (12-8, 2-3 Big East) and Creighton (11-7, 5-0 Big East) following its first conference win of the season last week against Providence (10-9, 1-4 Big East).
The Hoyas’ Homecoming Weekend begins Friday with their match against Marquette. The Golden Eagles face their second consecutive road trip after games at Villanova (14-4, 4-1 Big East) and Seton Hall (8-9, 2-3 Big East) last weekend. They were swept by Villanova on Friday before rebounding with a 3-0 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday.
Georgetown will focus on containing redshirt freshman outside hitter Taylor Louis, who led Marquette to victory against Seton Hall with a match-high 16 kills on an impressive .424 hitting percentage. She also recorded her team’s only block against the Pirates. The 6-foot-2-inch Louis has been one of the team’s leaders in what is her debut season.
Defensively, junior libero Lauren Houg led the Golden Eagles with two standout performances, tallying a team-high 18 and 16 digs against Seton Hall and Villanova, respectively.
On Sunday, Georgetown faces DePaul. The Blue Devils also faced Seton Hall and Villanova last weekend, falling to both teams in consecutive sweeps. However, DePaul’s 11-match winning streak early in the season demonstrates that it is not a team that should be taken lightly. A pair of dynamic underclassmen leads DePaul’s attack. Brittany Maxwell, a freshman right-side hitter, is the team leader in kills with 180 on the season. Caitlyn Coffey, a sophomore middle blocker, is close behind Maxwell with 165 kills and also has a team-high eight blocks this season.
In preparation for the weekend, a common theme for Georgetown has been building team chemistry. The team has only three members who returned from last season, and eight of its players are freshmen new to college volleyball. One of the team’s veterans, sophomore outside hitter Lauren Saar, explained some of the difficulty involved with so many new faces.
“It’s definitely a different situation than other teams in the past. You try to have team unity, but this an entirely new team, almost,” Saar said.
Much of the focus going into the Homecoming Weekend matches will be on the team’s play rather than the play of its opponents.
“I think one thing that we need to focus on is what our strengths are … just playing to our own advantages,” Saar said.
Head Coach Arlisa Williams was adamant that the team would not let its inexperience be an excuse.
“This group does not think like freshmen, so they’re out there to compete and win it,” Williams said.
Williams was clear about her expectations for the upcoming games.
“I’m a typical coach; I’m looking for them to go out, leave it all on the floor, give their best effort, be competitive, be high energy, support each other and execute,” Williams said.
Another recent point of emphasis for the Hoyas has been consistency. Both Saar and Williams lamented the inability of the team to play at its best for entire matches. They cited the team’s performance against St. John’s, in which it played very well for one set but was unable to replicate that for the remainder of the match.
Georgetown is still optimistic about its chances. It hopes to gain from the enthusiasm that Homecoming brings and will be ready for a couple of hard-fought matches.
After her first conference win at Georgetown, freshman outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette said the win felt spectacular. Sinnette and the rest of the Hoyas will be looking to experience that winning feeling again this weekend.