Volleyball Roundup: Wildcats scratch by Hoyas in Big East Opener

September 29, 2015

Photo: Georgetown Sports Information

The Georgetown Women’s Volleyball Team (6-8, 0-1 BIG EAST) fell to the Villanova Wildcats (11-3, 1-0 BIG EAST) in straight sets, 25-13, 25-13, 25-20, Friday night in McDonough Arena. Freshman outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette led the Hoyas with 10 kills at an average of 3.33 kills per set. Freshman middle blocker Symone Speech added five kills and freshman setter Paige McKnight tallied 22 assists to go along with nine digs. The Wildcats were led by the play of sophomore outside hitter Allie Loitz, who totaled 12 kills at a 43.5% success rate and also recorded five service aces.

The Hoyas trailed for the majority of each set, succumbing to the power of each Villanova run. In the first set, the Wildcats surged ahead with a 10-3 spurt to take a 11-4 lead after Liz King knotted up the set at 1-all. Villanova would temper any chance of a Georgetown run, finishing strong to take the first set 25-13. A similar story played out in the second set, as the Hoyas struggled to establish a rhythm against the serving and hitting of Loitz, as the Wildcats scored the final six points of the frame to take the second set at 25-13 once more. Georgetown took control of the third set early on, jumping out to a 10-6 advantage courtesy of a thunderous kill from Sinnette. However, the Wildcats used another patented surge, this one out of a timeout, to take a commanding 18-12 lead. The Hoyas would close the gap to 19-15, but ran out of gas to complete the comeback.

“One of our biggest challenges is learning a routine that’s going to allow us to be effective,” said Head Coach Arlisa Williams. “We have been on the road a whole lot. Today, we have players on campus for the first time, they’re taking a quiz on game day, don’t have pregame meal as a team…it’s just a whole different routine. Getting mentally prepared is a new experience for them.”

This extra modicum of preparation will serve the Hoyas well moving forward, especially as the grind of the Big East play continues. The team will face similar challenges, both from a standpoint of mental and physical endurance and one of the quality of the opponent. Today, the Wildcats played a mistake-free style with excellent serving that exploited Georgetown’s lack of fluidity early on. However, the Hoyas found success once they mixed things up.

“Villanova served well. In the first set, we just could not find a way to get assists, which means we were pretty much going to send a high ball to Alyssa Sinnette, and they’re going to have a big block in front of her,” said Williams. “So once we did a better job of passing, it allowed us to diversify.”

“This team has a lot of heart. They have a lot of grit, and they know that we are a better team than what we demonstrated in the first two sets, so they came out ready to respond.”

One of the major talking points with this Hoyas team has been the youth and how it has contributed to the overall learning curve. Symone Speech thinks that in spite of the inexperience, Georgetown has been able to make significant strides in their execution. When asked if the chemistry has improved since the start of the season, she answered with an emphatic affirmative.

“Absolutely. Like I said, we’re really new and none of us had played with each other, so it’s getting better, little by little each game. By the end of the season it should be awesome. I’m really excited.”

Santul Nerkar
Santul is the Voice's former executive culture editor and Halftime Sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @SantulN to become one of his rare few followers.

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