On Sept. 27, the Georgetown volleyball team (10-16, 4-9 Big East) lost to Seton Hall (11-14, 5-8 Big East) in a hard-fought five-set match in McDonough Arena. On that night, the Pirates won two of the first three sets to jump out to an early lead. Georgetown won the fourth set to send the match to a deciding fifth set but was unable to complete the comeback, falling 15-7 in the final set.
On Friday night, Georgetown faced Seton Hall again, this time in South Orange, N.J. Again, the Hoyas lost two of the first three sets to fall into an early deficit. This time, however, Georgetown was able to complete the comeback, triumphing 15-12 in the final set.
“I think this time around we were a lot more energetic, and we were having fun playing,” freshman outside hitter Liv King said. “I think it’s really important to remember that it’s a game and that we’re here doing what we love.”
Georgetown started off strong, winning the first set 25-21 behind five kills each from freshman outside hitter Alyssa Sinette and senior outside hitter Lauren Saar. However, Seton Hall immediately fought back to win the second and third sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-20, respectively.
In the fourth set, Georgetown was able to reverse the momentum. The set went back and forth and was close throughout, and eventually the Hoyas held an 18-17 lead. Georgetown then went on a 7-1 run to close out the set 25-18 and even the match.
“I think our team is really good at bouncing back from setbacks, and that applies to a lot of different areas,” King said. “And just as people, we’re really good at coming together and having each other’s backs and knowing that we’re there for each other.”
The fifth set was another close affair, as the teams went back and forth until Head Coach Arlisa Williams called a timeout with her team down 7-6. Coming out of the timeout, Georgetown used a 5-0 run to earn an 11-7 lead that it would not relinquish. The Hoyas closed out the match 15-12.
Williams was pleased with her team’s improvement since the September matchup.
“We’ve worked on some things, we’re a better passing team as the season has gone on, we’re a better blocking team as the season has gone on, and so I think that it was just some minor differences between the first time around and the second time around,” Williams said.
Freshman middle blocker Symone Speech led the team with 17 kills and a 0.441 hitting percentage. King recorded her first collegiate double-double with 15 kills and 11 digs, a feat that she was proud of after the match.
“I was really excited to see that after the game. I think during the game you’re not focused on stats at the moment, so it’s nice to see at the end that all the hard work has paid off,” King said.
On Saturday night, Georgetown faced Villanova (21-5, 11-2 Big East). The Hoyas got off to a rough start, losing the first 10 points of the match.
“I think that everyone was angry, everyone was embarrassed, we know that we’re a better team than that, and they just took it upon themselves to come out and play hard and redeem themselves,” Williams said.
The Hoyas were unable to reverse the momentum in the first set, eventually falling 25-8. Georgetown was able to fight back and make the second and third sets more competitive, but the Hoyas eventually fell in straight sets 25-8, 25-18 and 26-24. Still, Georgetown was encouraged by its ability to compete with Villanova, one of the top teams in the conference.
“I think something that we took away from that is that if we could start how we played the last set right in the beginning and still progress, then we’ll start getting those matches that we’re just falling a little short,” King said.
Williams has been impressed by her team’s improvement over the course of the season. With a team that includes eight freshmen on its 12-player roster, Georgetown could have been expected to take a step back. However, with 10 wins this season, including four Big East wins, the Hoyas have already matched their totals from last season.
“I think that they stepped on campus as a very high-talented group,” Williams said. “And then wanting to play at the speed of the game, and then turning the corner. They’re just a work-hard, high-energy group, and they put forth the effort and it’s showing right now.”
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