Coming off a tough defeat at the hands of Big East conference rival Villanova (15-8, 6-4 Big East), the Georgetown women’s volleyball team looks to right the ship with another home stand this weekend against two more Big East rivals, DePaul and Marquette.
Georgetown (6-17, 2-8 Big East) earlier in the season fell to both teams 3-1 and 3-0 respectively. Georgetown will play DePaul (12-11, 6-5 Big East) on Friday evening and Marquette (18-5, 8-3 Big East) on Saturday evening.
Georgetown currently sits at No. 9 in the Big East conference out of 12 teams. However, this has not deterred the Hoyas from setting goals for the final stretch of the season.
Senior middle blocker Ashlie Williams said Head Coach Arlisa Williams has stressed that the team should continue to seek improvement.
“We are still chasing something, and that we can definitely win some more games in the conference, we can definitely finish in a better position than where we are now. So we’re focusing on trying to win as much as we can at this point,” Ashlie Williams said.
Georgetown’s first match up is against DePaul, a team coming off a big win over Providence (13-13, 1-9 Big East) that broke a four-game losing streak in conference play. The Blue Demons are led on offense by sophomore Brittany Maxwell and junior Myah Reed who have recorded 307 and 235 kills, respectively. Defensively, senior setter Colleen Smith has recorded 219 digs on the season and leads a DePaul unit that averages 11.5 digs per set.
“We know Marquette and DePaul are both some of the strongest teams in our conference right now, so playing them the first time showed us what their tendencies are and what they’re strong in. So we’ve been practicing a lot this week trying to work around those things and strengthening our strengths.” Ashlie Williams said.
The second match of the weekend pits Georgetown against Marquette, currently No. 2 in the Big East and trying to keep up with Creighton (16-6, 10-0 Big East) for the lead in the conference. Possessing a conference record of 8-3, Marquette will bring a tough defensive play to the match. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Jenna Rosenthal ranks in the top 30 players in the country for total blocks on the season.
In Georgetown’s first match against Marquette on Sept. 30, the Hoyas were plagued by the Golden Eagles’ long scoring runs early in sets. Georgetown’s ability to limit those runs and break up scoring opportunities for Marquette on defense will be key in the match.
Ashlie Williams said that one of the team’s major goals for the rest of the season is keying in on these runs and taking momentum back in the sets.
“One of our goals that we have restructured is to focus on limiting runs to two points. So we have to make sure we collect and reiterate that that is our goal,” Ashlie Williams said. “From there we then have to figure out ways to stop that, whether that’s passing, and then executing when we do get a good pass. We are also very committed to making sure the runs stop because they are big contributors to other teams’ wins against us.”
Coach Williams also pointed out that Georgetown’s ability to serve well and set up its block will be a key factor to winning these tough matchups and keeping control of the court against a stingy DePaul squad and a streaking Marquette team.
“I think the first way [to slow their offense] is to serve competitively. If we can serve tough and get them out of system, then that makes them a whole lot easier to guard because they won’t have as many hitting options. The second thing is to make sure we tighten everything up blocking-wise, and then make sure we dig balls in the transition game,” Arlisa Williams said.
These two matches are a second week of home games for the Hoyas, giving the team greater comfort in these matches than some of its past travels away from Georgetown.
“We hope that being at home and being here for two weeks in a row will give us an advantage because of our comfort level here. We know that both teams are going to be tough competitors and so we need to take care of our stuff and defend home court,” Arlisa Williams said.
Both matches are set to begin at 6 p.m. in the McDonough Gymnasium.
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