VOLLEYBALL | Lowrance, Georgetown Look for Road Revival
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 12, 2012 00:10
The slumping Georgetown volleyball team (6-12, 0-5 Big East) packs its bags for blustery Pennslyvania and sunny south Florida this weekend, hoping to earn its first Big East victory against Pittsburgh (11-9, 2-4 Big East) and South Florida (10-9, 2-4 Big East).
The Hoyas — who have lost 11 games in a row after starting the season 5-1 — have lost their last four matches in four-set fashion. Head Coach Arlisa Williams suggested that the competitiveness the Blue and Gray has shown in recent matches indicates that the end of its slide is just a step or two away.
“This team is getting stronger and stronger,” Williams said. “We know as a group that we haven’t put together a complete match in a while. We’re missing something, and we’re trying to chase that something.”
Georgetown has had recurring difficulties this season both playing consistently throughout matches and finishing off close games.
Junior setter Haley Lowrance recognized that she and her teammates must fix these problems in order to turn things around.
“There’s no specific volleyball skill that we’re lacking in, but we’ve had trouble finishing, whether [that’s] terminating balls [from sets] or playing all the way through points,” Lowrance said. “We also need more consistency, because we can go out and pass and hit really well during one set and then completely break down in the next set.”
While there is no easy method to fix these issues, Williams said that the players have worked hard in practice this week, putting in extra hours in the gym in order to develop into a winning team.
“The players are always asking for more reps and watching video,” Williams said. “Practice has gone really well this week. We’ve had some really good moments and seen some great swings. Haley has set an excellent week of practice.”
Lowrance is ranked third in the Big East with 11.07 assists per set and 742 total assists. Her 26 service aces also rank fifth in the conference. However, Lowrance believes that her leadership role as the setter is more important than any statistical performance.
“I’m the only player on the court for every point, so I have to be vocal and consistent,” Lowrance said. “I’m the liaison between the offense and the defense. I tell the passers what I need from them, and then I tell the hitters what we’re going to do.”
Tha meant Georgetown experienced a major scare on Saturday against Villanova, when Lowrance suffered a head-on collision with sophomore libero MacKenzie Simpson. Due to her unique role, the Hoyas could not afford to lose Lowrance. Luckily, the injury did not turn out to be a serious one, and she only missed one point.
Lowrance noted that the only lasting effect was mild head pain and joked when asked about her condition.
“Even though my head hurts, it’s actually helped me have better accuracy in practice,” Lowrance said. “Coach said that I should have been hit in the head a long time ago. We’re looking to communicate better, though, so [that] a situation like that doesn’t happen again.”
Pittsburgh, who employs a crafty and unique offensive game plan, is coming off of a 3-2 win against Rutgers in its last outing. Two days later in South Florida, Georgetown will face a Bulls squad with a first-year coach in Courtney Draper.
Williams said that the Blue and Gray will be prepared for tough battles against both squads, but due to a successful week of practice and a resilient group of players, she believes that this may finally be the weekend when the Hoyas earn their first Big East victory.
“I will love this team for a very long time,” Williams said. “We’ve lost a lot of games, but the players come back to practice every single day wanting to improve, leaving it on the floor, working hard, making minor adjustments, and they just won’t quit.”
The matchup in Pittsburgh is scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight, while the game against South Florida will start at 2 p.m. in Tampa.