The Georgetown women’s volleyball team (6-23, 2-14 Big East) has its final two opportunities to win a game this weekend against Big East-leading Creighton (22-6, 16-0 Big East) and last-place Providence (13-19, 1-15 Big East) after losing 10 consecutive games.
Coming into the last road trip of a disappointing season, Head Coach Arlisa Williams remained prideful in her players’ ability to draw motivation from within themselves as they look to break that streak.
“This team has won the belief that we can do more than we accomplished this year. So, when they step on to the floor, they are pulling from within and trying to be better than they were the last time they were out there. It is all about what they’re doing mentally, and it’s all about their heart,” Williams said.
Georgetown’s first opportunity comes on the road in a daunting matchup against No. 21 Creighton, a team boasting an undefeated record in Big East play. The Blue Jays bring a high powered offense to the court, ranking ninth in the nation in assists per set and boasts four players tallying over 200 kills on the season, with freshman outside hitter Jaali Winters leading the way at 307 total kills.
“Creighton has firepower at all five hitting positions. They have two outsides that are very effective for them, and a right side who can swing first and put balls in the middle, and, as well, a middle who can swing first and put balls in the middle then go get kills on the right side,” Williams said of Creighton’s attack.
In the first match the Hoyas played against the Blue Jays, late set surges by Creighton were too strong for the Hoyas to overcome en route to a 0-3 loss. Williams noted that serving aggressively will be key for Georgetown to get the stellar Creighton hitters off balance and provide an opportunity to pull off an upset as Creighton looks to defend a 10-1 home record.
After playing Creighton in Omaha, the Hoyas fly back to the East Coast to take on Providence in each team’s season finales. The Friars have had a comparable season in conference play, notching only one victory against St. John’s Red Storm (16-14, 7-10 Big East) at home in mid-October.
The Friars bring in a strong defense, led by senior defensive specialist Michelle Cruz, third in the Big East with 4.60 digs per set, and sophomore middle blocker Allison Impellizeri who leads the team with 103 blocks this season. The Hoyas were previously victorious against the Friars at McDonough Arena, taking a close match by a 3-1 margin.
Williams focused the team on maintaining a sharp mentality against Providence, especially because of each team’s desire to win in this matchup.
“I think that we keep the mindset that we have to be successful against Providence. We have a target on our back regardless of our record, because we are Georgetown, and everybody knows who we are,” Williams said. “From there we just have to leave it all on the floor and not look back.”
While this may be the end of a challenging season for the Hoyas, it is the end of two seniors’ volleyball careers here on the Hilltop. Middle blocker Ashlie Williams and setter Caitlin Brauneis were both honored on senior night in their last home match against Xavier.
Now with their last two volleyball matches of their career ahead of them, Arlisa Williams characterized them as the epitome of a student-athlete here at Georgetown.
“The seniors, Caitlin and Ashlie, have done a wonderful job here, and they’ve persevered through so much. You just have to applaud them every single day for the challenges they’ve overcome here. They love the Hilltop, and that comes through in everything that they do. They love being student-athletes here,” Williams said.
These seniors and the rest of the Hoyas take on the Blue Jays this Friday at 8 p.m. and then travel out to Providence, R.I., to take on the Friars this Sunday at 1 p.m.
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