Volleyball | Hoyas Fall in Rivalry Bout

The women’s volleyball team dropped its match against conference rival Villanova on Saturday 3-1, falling to 2-8 in the Big East and 6-17 overall.

The Hoyas (6-17, 2-8 Big East) split their season matchups with the Wildcats (15-8, 6-4 Big East), as they dominated their first meeting in a 3-0 sweep, but they were unable to do the same this past weekend.

The Blue and Gray battled across four sets and lost by small margins of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-16.

“We knew from the beginning that Villanova was going to come out wanting some revenge and they played very, very tough,” Georgetown Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “I was very proud of how we fought back in the second set, and I think we showed some grit.”

Three Hoyas achieved impressive double-figure kills in the match. Sophomore outside hitters Liv King and Alyssa Sinnette each had 13 kills, while sophomore middle blocker Symone Speech followed closely behind with 12. Sophomore setter Paige McKnight also had a noteworthy 45 assists, while sophomore libero Kenzie Higareda in the back row recorded a match high 18 digs.

The match was also Sinnette’s sixth double-double of the season, as she had 12 digs in the back row to go along with her strong offensive play. Sinnette, Speech and senior middle blocker Ashlie Williams all added three blocks apiece.

“Paige has done a really nice job of diversifying our offense and she continues to do that,” Arlisa Williams said. “We’ve got a number of hitters that can terminate, and she was able to get them the ball. I think one of the biggest factors is that they were committing on Ashlie Williams in the middle, so she had a lot of hands in front of her every swing, and they were committing on Symone, because our middles have had a tendency to go off on Villanova. This left opportunities for our pins to get good swings.”

The second set was the Hoyas’ strongest performance. They came out swinging with an impressive .429 offensive percentage, 16 total kills and only one error. The team closed the set out at 25-23 with a power partner block by Ashlie Williams and Sinnette.

Despite the Hoyas’ impressive offense, the Wildcats’ fast defense in the back row was hard to break. Villanova freshman libero Regan Lough dug 18 balls from the Blue and Gray, while her teammate junior libero Allison Fitzgerald added 13 digs. Georgetown also had difficulty keeping pace with Villanova’s offense. Villanova senior outside hitter Claire Crutchfield notched a match-high 18 kills, and sophomore middle blocker Amanda Pedersen-Henry added 11 in the middle.

Arlisa Williams said Georgetown learned this past weekend that individual offensive feats are not enough to carry the team.

“We need every single person to have a huge sense of urgency and all out effort all the time, and that was inconsistent for us tonight, which is why the end result was what it was,” Arlisa Williams said after the game.

This week, Arlisa Williams said she may restructure the team’s practice and lift schedules so the players can rest both physically and mentally in preparation for this coming weekend.

“It’s a long season and our biggest thing is making sure we have an opportunity to recover, and so we will look at how we structure practices, can we squeeze in an additional day off, as we have our minds and bodies recover to get ready for our next set of matches,” Arlisa Williams said.

The Hoyas continue their second half of conference play this weekend, when they face off against two powerful Midwest opponents to whom they have previously fallen. Georgetown has back-to-back weekend matches starting against DePaul (12-11, 6-5 Big East) Friday, and then against Marquette (18-5, 8-3 Big East) Saturday. Both contests are set for 6 p.m. at McDonough Gymnasium.

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