Volleyball grounded early

September 15, 2011

The Georgetown’s women’s volleyball team has started out the season with mixed results, dropping to 4-5 after a tough five-set loss to George Washington in the final game of the D.C. Challenge yesterday afternoon. The Hoyas will rue their missed chances against the Colonials, having surged to a two sets to one lead in the match.

The team has struggled initially with a challenging non-conference schedule, including a matchup against No. 1 California last week, in which the Hoyas were taken apart in three sets by the undefeated national title frontrunners.

It is not just the difficult non-conference schedule that has created early obstacles for the Hoyas this season, head coach Arlisa Williams admitted that the departure of three seniors leaders from last year’s squad has also contributed to the inconsistent start this year.

“I believe the biggest impact is the loss of experience that our seniors provided,” Williams said. “But the athleticism and game savvy of our freshmen as well as the overall development of our players and leadership of our current seniors make the transition a relatively smooth one.”

Senior libero Tory Rezin also recognizes the need for her and senior setter Ashley Malone to emerge as leaders this year if the team is going to maximize its potential on the court.

“Being a senior, I know the team looks up to both myself and Ashley because we have the most experience on the team,” Rezin said. “Any advice we give…is always in the best interest of the team and our success.”

Despite sweeping roster changes, Williams noted that the start of this season is comparable to that of fall 2010.

“Our record is about the same at this point,” she said. “I think the bumps that we are hitting, if we learn from them, will allow us to have a really fun journey through this last non-conference tournament and Big East play.”

Even in their defeats this season, the Hoyas know there are positives to take away. The 0-3 score line against Cal is perhaps misleading given Georgetown’s strong effort in the third set. The Golden Bears breezed by the Hoyas 25-14 in the first two sets before battling to 25-18 in the clinching set.

“We had nothing to lose by playing great Hoya volleyball,” Williams said. “After the match was over, I was happy that we competed well in set three but disappointed that it took three sets for us to get going.”

Even with a rocky start to the season, the Hoyas have maintained high aspirations, setting their sights on postseason play.

“My expectations for the future are to make the Big East Tournament,” Rezin said. “I fully believe this goal is attainable… we have a very talented group of players.”

Their tough early schedule will go a long way toward preparing the Hoyas for conference play, where they will have to prove themselves again against talented opposition. A top-half finish is essential if Georgetown is to prolong its season. Williams knows her team has gained valuable experience for the future.

“The start of this season has prepared us for every obstacle that we will face along the way,” she said. “As we move forward, I expect great things.”

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