VOLLEYBALL | Hoyas Home For Big East Play
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 02:10
The Georgetown volleyball team has practically been living on the road so far this season, playing only one home game in 14 matches.
This weekend, however, Georgetown (6-8, 0-1 Big East) is returning to McDonough Arena to take on two Big East foes in Marquette and DePaul.
“It’s much easier to play at home than it is away because you don’t have to focus on all the externalities that come with being on the road,” junior outside hitter Alex Johnson said. “You get to sleep at home, eat at home and kind of do your own ritual.”
On Friday night, Georgetown seeks its first Big East win against Marquette (8-4, 1-0 Big East). The Golden Eagles are coming off a five-set win over DePaul (13-1, 0-1 Big East), in which freshman outside hitter Autumn Bailey had 29 kills, and senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein had 69 assists. Koberstein was named Big East Player of the Week, and Bailey earned a spot on the Honor Roll.
“We’ve seen very active setters this year, so it’s something we know that we can handle, and we’re just going to try to focus on that,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “And then, [Bailey’s] an outside hitter, we’re going to go get some hands in front of her, and play some greatt defense.”
Marquette will have to compete against a strong Georgetown defense that averaged 2.75 blocks per set against Villanova last week.
“We felt really prepared, and we actually felt like we gelled more in [Villanova] than any other game, so I think we’re actually pretty ready for Marquette,” Johnson said.
But the Golden Eagles are just one half of the challenge this weekend. On Saturday, Georgetown plays host to DePaul, whose only loss of the season came against Marquette.
And despite playing at home, the Hoyas have to prepare for back-to-back games that will test their depth.
“The hard part is preparing for the second opponent,” Williams said. “We have to focus on what’s right in front of us, and so preparing for that Saturday opponent is going to be a little bit difficult.”
The Blue Demons recorded a school-record thirteen consecutive wins to start the season and have gotten at least one Big East award a week, with a mention this week for senior outside hitter Vesela Zapryanova, who had 29 kills against the University of Illinois at Chicago.
But the Hoyas have some star power of their own, with 479 of their 677 kills coming from the trio of Johnson, junior middle blocker Dani White and sophomore outside hitter Lauren Saar.
It is also worth noting that Georgetown’s only win in conference play last year came against DePaul in a three-set sweep.
Last week against Villanova, Georgetown came out slowly and was unable to come back. With a strong start this weekend, they can put themselves in a position to win both matches.
“I think that we need to come out fast,” Williams said. “Villanova came out so fast and jumped on us early, and then we had to fight back in. And our conference is too good for us to have to do that every weekend.”
Playing at home will likely give the Blue and Gray an edge that may propel them to come out firing on all cylinders in front of their home crowd, and the team has their eyes set on racking up some conference wins.
“At this point, with the start of Big East, we all have the same mindset. We all understand the gravity of Big East play, and how we all just need to get our minds right and really focus on these matches one at a time,” Johnson said.
Williams is confident that Georgetown is worthy of two wins this weekend if the team starts off in that mindset and plays smart aggressive volleyball from start to finish.
“I think the biggest challenge is really us,” she said. “Are we going to go out and play good, clean volleyball, take care of it on our side of the net and play low error, or are we going to have to come from behind?”