ANNE STONECIPHER FOR THE HOYA
Freshman outside hitter Riley Wertzberger ranks fifth on the team with 89 kills on the year.

The Georgetown women’s volleyball team continued Big East play Saturday on the road against rival Villanova, falling in three sets of 17-25, 19-25, 20-25, in a hard-fought battle between conference foes.

The Hoyas (7-15, 1-9 Big East) suffered a similar fate on Saturday as to when they first hosted the Wildcats (14-7, 7-3 Big East) on Oct. 7 at McDonough Arena.

“When we played them the first time, the scenario was extremely different; the team came out with just such great energy,” Head Coach Arlisa Williams said. “[Villanova’s players] were very, very intentional in what they were doing, and that allowed us to get some momentum and stay in the match, but the reason that we didn’t close out is, once again, we were just high error.”

Georgetown failed to limit its unforced errors, serving balls into the net and out of bounds, as well as not handling the ball properly at times. Villanova, however, came out strong, hoping to repeat its last meeting with the Hoyas. The Wildcats claimed the lead and did not let go for the entirety of the first set. Although the two teams were neck-and-neck with kills in the first set — Georgetown with 12 and Villanova with 13 — Villanova capitalized more on offensive opportunities, outhitting its opponents .440 to .176 to win the set.

Villanova took its momentum from the first set to win the first point of the second set, but the Georgetown squad quickly pulled itself into the lead. The second set had the lowest number of attacking errors for the Blue and Gray, and Georgetown maintained its lead until Villanova finally managed to catch up with 15 points.

From there, Villanova surpassed Georgetown and went on a 14-4 scoring run to claim the second Wildcat win of the evening.

Georgetown hung on tight in the third set. Following a slow 5-1 start, the Hoyas fought back after a 7-0 scoring run by the Wildcats brought the score to 20-22.

Despite crawling out of these seemingly large deficits, Georgetown never led in the third, final set. The last set was the closest of the evening with a final score of 20-25, but the match ended in a 3-0 defeat for the Hoyas.

Junior outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette led Georgetown’s attack with a match-high 11 kills. She also had an impressive seven digs.

Williams credited her as a critical contributor.

“You saw great point production from Alyssa Sinnette, and she has been an X-factor for us all year,” Williams said. “Just to see her come into her own, you saw that start in the Marquette match. And then she repeated that performance again.”

Sinnette was not the only outside hitter to make a dent in Villanova’s defense. Junior outside hitter Olivia King contributed five kills.

As has been the theme all season, Georgetown’s middle blockers were also effective.  Junior middle blocker Symone Speech was right behind Sinnette with 10 kills of her own. Following her were graduate student middle blocker Aima Eichie and sophomore middle blocker and right side hitter Emily Herrington with four kills each.

Junior setter Paige McKnight contributed a stellar performance with 29 assists.

“[McKnight is] just really trying to put the team on her back at this point and carry us to some victories,” Williams said. “So she’s doing a great job defensively; she’s very, very offensive-minded and doing an awesome job getting her hitters one-on-one, and she’s pretty solid for us.”

Junior libero Kenzie Higareda anchored the Georgetown defense against Villanova, digging out 14 of the Wildcats’ offensive attempts.

“The biggest thing is just keep pushing,” Williams said. “We are doing some good things. They are playing at a high level for short stretches of time, and we just need to make sure that we continue to play at that high level for 25 points instead of 19 and make sure that we finish.”

Georgetown returns to the court twice this weekend when they travel to the Midwest. The Hoyas will take on the Xavier Musketeers (8-17, 3-8 Big East) on today in Ohio, then will travel to Indiana to square off against the Butler Bulldogs (17-6, 7-4 Big East) on Sunday.

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