After an inconsistent start to the team’s conference play, Georgetown volleyball (6-16, 2-7) looks to rebound against rival Villanova (14-8, 5-4) to open up the second half of the Big East season.
The last time the Hoyas and the Wildcats met, Georgetown played one of its better games of the season, with sophomore middle blocker Symone Speech, sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette and sophomore outside hitter Liv King recording double-digit kills in a dynamic offensive upset of Villanova.
Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Williams remained cautious when discussing this first victory, focusing on the Wildcats’ fervent desire to play harder against the Hoyas because of that first match.
“We should be pretty confident after the way that we played Villanova the first time. However, we know that Villanova is a fighting team, and they are going to come in with a chip on their shoulder and so we have to make sure we take care of business in every area of our game,” Williams said.
Speech, who had 14 kills against Villanova in the first matchup, followed her coach’s cautious optimism.
“It feels very good [to have a win over Villanova] and helps keep our confidence up. But we can’t hold on to it too much, because we know that Villanova are going to come after us hard, and we have to be ready to push back,” Speech said
Villanova comes into this game looking to maintain a winning record in the Big East, after breaking .500 in a win over Xavier this past weekend. The Wildcats are led by freshman setter Emma Decker — top-ten in the NCAA in assists per set — setting up the Wildcats’ outside hitters.
Speech also noted the challenges that Villanova presented to the team, especially with more game film available to each program the second time around.
“The challenges, since we are playing them for a second time, that we know their tendencies, and they know ours,” Speech said. “So going into the match this weekend, they watch our video and so they know what we do, so we just have to go hard and outplay them, and not give up and push each other even though they may know what’s coming.”
Opening the second half of the Big East season against Villanova presents Georgetown with an opportunity to overcome some of the midseason struggles against a major rival, and Coach Williams stressed that this match would help the team set the bar for consistent play throughout the rest of the season.
“We know that we have had inconsistent play, and we’re focused on being consistent and staying focused on getting the points, the sets and the matches that we feel we have left out there,” Williams said.
While the Hoyas are striving to find consistency, Speech maintained that the team remains excited to have a second shot at many conference foes going into the second half of the season, starting with Villanova.
“I think because we are going into, the second half of the season everyone, is excited and knows we have to work really hard if we want to go to the Big East [Tournament], so everyone is very enthusiastic and very excited to beat ’Nova this weekend,” Speech said.
Georgetown will take on rival Villanova in McDonough Arena on Saturday, Oct. 22 to open the second half of Big East play with a major rematch. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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