VOLLEYBALL | GU Falters Against Villanova
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:10
In what has become a pattern, the Georgetown volleyball team (6-12, 0-5 Big East) dropped its fourth straight competitive four-set match Friday, this time to Villanova (8-10, 3-2 Big East).
After losing by a score of 19-25, 25-18, 20-25, 18-25, Head Coach Arlisa Williams admitted that there has been more similarities than just the ending in each of those matches.
“We have seen it all year long,” Williams said. “We start off the match and lose the first set and then claw our way through the second set. It’s usually hit or miss in the third set and we just try to dig through the fourth.”
Several errors proved costly for the Blue and Gray in the first set, but the Hoyas once against stepped up in the second frame. Redshirt sophomore Elizabeth Riggins, redshirt junior Annalee Abell and junior Brooke Bachesta — all outside hitters — saw a bigger role in the rotation, as starting outside hitter Alex Johnson spent most of the match on the back line.
“Riggins did a really nice job taking some good swings on the outside, Brooke came off the bench and was able to hit at a higher contact point and Annalee did a great job of hitting the ball down the line,” Williams said.
Georgetown also ratcheted up its defensive intensity in the second set. There was no better example of this than when redshirt junior defensive specialist Whitney Jencks was hit in the head with the ball but didn’t blink, instead keeping it in play and scoring a point for the Hoyas.
Despite the Blue and Gray’s momentum, the Wildcats, led by senior outside hitter Krista Andersen, freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter and junior libero Mariah Henley, who leads the Big East in digs, took the initiative in the third set.
After outplaying the Hoyas en route to a 25-20 third set win, Villanova continued to roll and took a 14-9 lead in the fourth set. The Hoyas fought back to get within one point but could not complete the comeback.
“It is a mindset issue,” Williams said. "We are still trying to figure out how we win with this particular group.”
The Hoyas suffered a scare near the end of the fourth, as junior setter Haley Lowrance collided head on with sophomore libero Mackenzie Simpson. Despite spending several minutes on the ground, Lowrance got back up and only missed one point. Even her determination, however, could not rally the team to victory.
Georgetown can take heart in outstanding performances by both of its middle blockers, senior captain Lindsay Wise and sophomore Dani White. Wise led the Hoyas with 10 kills on .333 hitting, while White added nine kills on .318 hitting and eight blocks.
“When we can get the ball to Dani and Lindsay, whose arm was coming through faster today, they can do some really good things out there,” Williams said.
Another improvement that allowed Georgetown to hang with the Wildcats was a speedier offense, as Lowrance tried to quicken the pace and lower the height of her sets.
“My philosophy is that if you can out-quick your opponent, it’s really hard to defend,” Williams said. “Our players are a little bit smaller, so I’ve always tried to run as fast of an offense as possible.”
Williams said that the Hoyas will continue to improve as they head into a road swing that includes games at Pittsburgh and South Florida.
“We need to remind ourselves of what we did well, and we need to be consistent in doing those things,” Williams said. “We will take it one game at a time, one point at a time, one rep at a time and just keep getting better.”