Sorry, Butler Blue: Women’s volleyball defeats Bulldogs in four sets

October 8, 2023

Georgetown Sports Information Photo courtesy of Georgetown Sports Information

The Georgetown women’s volleyball team (11-5, 2-2 BIG EAST) beat the unranked Butler Bulldogs (6-8, 0-3 BIG EAST) 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 17-25, 25-19) in McDonough Gymnasium on Friday, September 29. The Hoyas started strong, but faltered in the third set before coming back to win the match.

Though the Hoyas lost the first three points of the initial set, they quickly turned things around, starting with a kill by graduate student right side Peyton Wilhite. She would go on to score 13 more kills throughout the match as a primary attacker on the court.

Freshman outside hitter Grace Albaugh served a streak of six nasty float serves that Butler struggled to return, including an ace, first tying the score 7-7 and then securing Georgetown a three-point lead.

“It’s always nice to get a serving run. That’s definitely what wins games, and it’s all a mentality of not being afraid to mess up, but just knowing that you’re going to go out there and do it,” Albaugh said. “Sometimes serving isn’t just about hitting aces, it’s about getting them out of system. It’s definitely very fun and exciting to get a run because it brings the whole team up.”

Wilhite, junior outside hitter Mary Grace Goyena, and freshman middle blocker Kamryn Lee-Caracci racked up kills while Butler struggled to get their serves over the net, lengthening their lead to seven points despite multiple timeouts by Butler.

Thanks to one last kill by Wilhite off of an assist from freshman setter Emily Wen, the Hoyas won the first set 25-18.

The second game saw Georgetown lose the first point again, but they immediately came back with a strong double block in the middle. The score remained close throughout the set, including a streak of nine plays exclusively ending in kills by both teams. Ultimately, Georgetown pulled ahead before Butler called a timeout at 20-16. The Hoyas then secured the set, 25-19. 

However, the tables completely turned in the third set. 

The Hoyas once again lost the first point, but this time the Bulldogs took it and ran up a five-point lead. The rallies were long and the Hoyas fought to close the score. For a moment it seemed they would, as one point saw both a pancake by Wilhite and even a rogue ball from Butler that hit the line judge. It wasn’t enough, though–the Bulldogs successfully turned their 19-15 lead into a 25-17 win, something Albaugh ruminated on after the game. 

“We let them get on a run in the very beginning. The whole first two sets, we would let them get their couple points, we would get them right back. But the third game we kind of let them get away with it,” Albaugh said.

In the fourth set, the Hoyas managed to win the initial point for the first time all night. However, they still trailed behind the Bulldogs, who were consistently up one point. They briefly tied at 11-11, at which point the Butler liberio questioned a possible double contact by a Georgetown blocker. There was an official review, but the refs determined they did not see more than one touch, and the game started up again.

Butler continued to stay a point or two ahead until Georgetown finally pulled ahead to 18-17, at which point Butler immediately called a timeout. 

“That one point that got us the lead got us the momentum that we needed. We knew they were gonna come out fighting, but once we got that lead we knew that we weren’t gonna let up,” Albaugh said. “A timeout sometimes is like showing that we really got them. Getting that timeout gave us the confidence and the push we needed to take the game.”

Both sides missed serves and secured blocks, but Georgetown came out on top to win the set 25-19 and the match 3-1. 

When asked what their biggest strength was during the match, Albaugh pointed to blocking.  “Before the game we get told, either block angle or block line. I think we really executed that, and when we weren’t getting the block we were funneling the ball right to our libero, [junior Karis Park], who would play it absolutely amazing. So yeah, I think that’s definitely what really did it for us,” she said.

The Hoyas next hosted the Providence College Friars (6-10, 0-4, BIG EAST) in McDonough Arena at 3 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 6. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X.

Ninabella Arlis
Ninabella is a sophomore studying International Business, Language, and Culture. Spot her working at the Center for Student Engagement or on the university's social medias!

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