After over a month of tough losses, Georgetown finally got back in the win column Tuesday night in a non-conference tilt at cDonough Gymnasium.
The Hoyas (6-12, 0-5 Big East) ended an eight-match skid with their 3-1 victory over the visiting University of aryland-Baltimore County Retrievers (9-10, 2-1 American East). Georgetown’s last win came on Sept. 9 against Coastal Carolina.
“We’ve had a rough patch, but it feels really good to get a win, especially at home,” sophomore outside hitter Jessica Buffum said.
After Georgetown dropped two 3-0 decisions on last weekend’s road trip to Big East foes Pittsburgh (15-6, 4-2 Big East) and West Virginia (2-19, 1-5 Big East), the Hoyas jumped out to a quick start against UMBC. They built a 9-1 lead on the serving of junior setter Kate Fisher and freshman outside hitter Kortney Robinson. The Retrievers would not threaten the rest of the game and the Hoyas won 30-23.
The game one victory marked the end of a nine-game losing streak for Georgetown that dated back to the third game of their match against Syracuse on Oct. 1.
The teams traded points early in the second game, but the Hoyas won a decisive volley with the score knotted at 7-7. Georgetown sent four spikes towards the UMBC side, only to see all four dug by the scrambling Retrievers. After UMBC returned the ball for the fifth time, Fisher lightly flicked the ball over the net instead of setting it. The ball floated to the ground perfectly in between the unsuspecting defense and gave Georgetown an 8-7 lead they would not relinquish in game two.
“We were extremely aggressive, and everybody went out to play hard,” Fisher said. “We weren’t scared to make errors like we sometimes are.”
In the first two games Georgetown only had five errors, while UMBC racked up 19. Overall, the Hoyas held themselves to fewer errors, recording only 14 to the Retrievers’ 34.
UMBC got a quick lead in game three and held a slight edge for most of the game. Georgetown tied it at 24, and the teams traded points until the score was knotted at 30, but UMBC took the next two points to win 32-30.
The Retrievers took the lead early in the fourth game as well, and the Hoyas flashed signs of their last home game, in which they squandered a two game to none lead against Syracuse.
With the score tied 7-7, senior middle blocker Annie Connor swung the momentum in Georgetown’s favor as she soared above the net and delivered a devastating kill that was too powerful for UMBC to dig. The Hoyas would never look back, and a spike from sophomore middle blocker Kit Niesen scored the winning point and ended Georgetown’s lengthy unproductive streak.
“I feel relieved that we got this one under our belts,” Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Hagan said. “Our players played hard, and they played with heart.”
Though they were out-killed 62-67, the Hoyas had a significant advantage in hitting percentage, as they hit at a .291 clip to the Retrievers’ .189.
Connor led the team with 18 kills, but they also received 11 from Niesen, 10 from freshman middle blocker Courtney Cohen, and nine from Buffum. Defensively, freshman libero Jessica Hardy collected 19 of the Hoyas’ 62 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Ashley Oscars picked up a game-high 22 kills for the Retrievers but recorded more errors, 15, than the Hoyas had as a team. Retrievers’ senior libero Jennifer Wylie led all players with 22 digs.
“We came together as a team and played well,” Buffum said. “It was fun to play as a player and fun to watch as a team.”
Georgetown will play the second game of its current four-game homestand and look for its first Big East win as the team takes on South Florida (8-10, 3-2 Big East) Saturday at 1 p.m. in McDonough Gymnasium.
“We’re pumped about USF, and it’s a game that we should definitely win,” Fisher said. “It’s our only game this weekend so we’ll focus on it the rest of the week in practice.”