VOLLEYBALL | More Woes for Hoyas in Home Opener
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 00:09
The Georgetown volleyball team (6-7) continued its slide Tuesday night, falling in four sets to Liberty (9-4) in the Hoyas’ home opener.
The Blue and Gray, who have now lost seven of their last eight matches, committed 19 errors on the night and now urgently need to regroup before Big East play begins today.
“We’ve [still] done some really good things this year,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said after the loss. “We started out 5-0 and played a pretty high level of volleyball in doing that. We have to remind [the players], ‘Hey, we’ve been there, done that,’ and just have them draw on their experience.”
Georgetown started the match strong in a hotly contested first set. But with the score knotted at 21, the Flames went on a 4-0 run started by a block the Hoyas were unable to return. Liberty then sent three straight spikes over the net to clinch the set.
Although they were trailing, the Blue and Gray put on a strong rally in the next period. Sophomore outside hitter Alex Johnson delivered a resounding spike to give the Hoyas an 8-7 lead early in the set, followed that up with a service ace and started her team off on a quick tear that extended the lead all the way to 15-9.
Liberty rallied, however, winning three straight points to cut Georgetown’s advantage to 21-18. Williams called for time, and the Hoyas came back after the break to win four straight points and take the second set, 25-18.
“There was nothing specific that I told them,” Williams said of the pivotal timeout. “I just reminded them to be composed, take care of the first ball, let’s terminate it and run back at them.”
Sophomore middle blocker Dani White, who missed the previous match due to injury, was also key in the second-set victory. Ten of White’s 18 kills on the night came in that second frame, and the sophomore played a key role in firing up her teammates as well.
“Dani is a huge leader for us — not just what she does for the score, but the demeanor she has on the court,” Williams said. “She just has this presence that allows our team to play with a little bit more confidence out there, and I think that that’s just the leadership that she brings.”
As in the first two sets, Georgetown and Liberty traded points in the third set, this time until both teams were tied at 15. The Flames then went on a four-point run, with ball-handling errors from Johnson and junior setter Haley Lowrance and two straight kills by Liberty sophomore middle blocker Loren Thomas accounting for the hot streak.
Undeterred, though, the Hoyas fought their way back into the set, tying it up at 25 on a kill from White and then taking a 26-25 lead on one from Johnson. But Georgetown’s momentum seemed to slip, and Liberty scored three points in a row to take the set and a 2-1 match advantage.
Liberty stayed on the offensive in the fourth set, jumping out to a quick 5-1 lead on the Hoyas. The two teams went back and forth for a bit until a small run by Georgetown helped to cut the deficit to 14-12. The Flames quickly rebuilt their lead, however, and coasted to a 25-20 win in the set to seal the win.
After the match, Williams cited communication as one area where her team could make immediate improvement before getting into the rigors of their conference schedule.
“I think that we can always communicate a little more effectively. There are some changes that were made from the bench that we need to talk continuously about on the floor,” she said. “We’ve talked about that in the locker room, and we will work on it in practice. … If we can do that, we will be better going into Big East play.”
St. John’s (13-3) is currently on a three-game winning streak and has stumbled only three times this season, inclu ding against ACC rival Maryland.
“St. John’s is playing well right now. They have a couple of foreigners on their team who are just going to bring a different brand of volleyball,” Williams said. “They are very experienced players, and we know they are going to try to take control. … Hopefully, we’re going to stop them.”
After taking on the Johnnies at 7 p.m. tonight, the Hoyas will head to Storrs, Conn., to take on Connecticut at 2 p.m. Sunday.