Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya Junior Margaret Vernon lines up her return during Georgetown’s Sunday competition with St. John’s. Vernon had a team-high 27 assists against the Red Storm.

With family and friends in attendance, setter Jen Ward and senior defensive specialist Molly Healy took their final bows with the Georgetown women’s volleyball team. But their good-byes were solemn ones, as Ward and Healy departed after two 3-1 losses – one Friday to Connecticut and one Sunday to St. John’s. Despite the sour coda the seniors took four years of good memories with them when they ended their Georgetown careers Sunday night.

With their families present, the two seniors were honored before the game on Sunday, with Ward in tears before the ceremonies even started.

“I cry enough for both of us,” Ward said tearily after the game as she and a dry-eyed Healy were talking.

The farewell weekend could have been a more enjoyable one for the two seniors if the Hoyas had picked up a win against a Big East rival. On Friday night the Connecticut Huskies paid a visit to cDonough and defeated the Hoyas in four games (30-28, 27-30, 30-26, 30-20) despite one of the strongest Georgetown performances of the year.

This match was one of the few times this season that the Hoyas came out with intensity that they were able to keep up throughout the match.

The intensity, however, could not disguise the communication issues on the court for Georgetown, particularly in the first game. There were several times when a ball would fall or two players would collide going for the same ball. Those incidents cost the Hoyas in a close first game that could have gone either way. The two teams had similar hitting percentages and the Hoyas came up with four blocks, compared with just one for the Huskies. Unable to hold its serve at the end of the game, Georgetown unraveled in the final stretch. At one point the Hoyas had the lead but Connecticut was able to put together a string of good serves to take the win at the end of game one.

The teams battled back and forth for the rest of the match. Georgetown won the second game and looked like it had a shot to come back in the third, but Connecticut squelched any hope by dominating play in the fourth game.

The star of the game was Hoya sophomore outside hitter Rachel Nelson, who had one of her strongest career performances. She had an impressive 21 kills, the high for the match. She added 18 kills to that to complete her 12th double-double of the season.

But Nelson’s outstanding play was not enough to overcome the strength of the Huskies.

Junior middle blocker Sara Albert also had a double-double for the Hoyas with 15 kills and 11 digs. Her most impressive total for the night was her five blocks, leading all players.

Ward had a strong match, starting off her farewell weekend with a match-high 44 assists and 10 kills to cap it off.

Sophomore middle hitter Megan Crawley led the Huskies with 16 kills, one of four Huskies with a double-digit kill total.

Sunday evening’s confrontation with the Red Storm of St. John’s marked the last game of the season for the 2003 women’s volleyball team. Georgetown fell once again, going down to St. John’s in four games (30-21, 27-30, 30-28, 30-25). It was clear from the beginning that the intensity level would be high again, as the match opened with an impressive rally eventually won by St. John’s.

The intensity, however, was not enough for Georgetown to overcome its opponent. The Hoyas’ hitting percentage was a dismal .109 and their kill total was uncharacteristically low – they only managed 46 kills as a team, compared with 67 by the Red Storm. All night it looked as if the Hoyas were facing a much stronger team but Head Coach Li Liu did not think that was necessarily the case.

“They’re getting better,” she said of Georgetown’s opponents. “They have really good athletes but I don’t think they’re a tougher team than we are.”

Liu attributed the loss to her own team’s weaknesses rather than the Red Storm’s strengths. “We need to work on our basic skills. Our passing is not consistent and everything kind of ties into that.”

Albert and Nelson, who have carried the Hoyas offensively all season, both had 11 kills with Albert contributing an impressive seven blocks and Nelson putting up nine digs.

In her final game, Healy had a team-high 13 digs. Fellow senior Ward split setting duties with junior setter Margaret Vernon, but was on the court for most of her final game for Georgetown. She finished with eight assists and one block.

After the match, Healy and Ward looked ahead for their team and back over their playing time at Georgetown. They admitted that this season had been a struggle.

“[The season] was a lesson in working hard even when you’re not winning,” Healy said. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to end our careers.”

Both players are anticipating what their teammates will do in the upcoming years.

“We’re excited to see what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of raw talent on this team and they’ll be really good if it gets developed,” said Ward.

This season the Hoyas ended with a record of 9-19 overall (4-9 Big East).

“We did not do as well as we expected this season. We’re really disappointed,” Liu said.

The women’s volleyball team will be very different next year with Ward and Healy gone. “They’re really good kids. We’re going to miss their leadership and personality on and off the court,” the coach said. The Hoyas will need someone to fill those leadership roles. Healy and Ward figure they will be passing that torch to Albert and Nelson for next season.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.