Georgetown women’s volleyball loses 5 set marathon to Providence

October 12, 2023

Photo by Benjamin Manens

Georgetown women’s volleyball (11-6, 2-3 BIG EAST) won the first two sets against Providence (7-10, 1-4 BIG EAST), but lost their momentum halfway through and dropped the last three sets to the Friars, who earned their first BIG EAST win of the season. Overall, it was a disappointing performance from Georgetown, as the Hoyas had a good chance to win but stumbled offensively down the stretch. 

Georgetown started the game strong with a great attack from junior outside hitter Mary Grace Goyena, assisted by freshman setter Emily Wen. They also got a momentum boost early in the set courtesy of freshman outside hitter Grace Albaugh. Albaugh, assisted by graduate right side Peyton Wilhite, scored a huge spike that went completely untouched by Providence to give the Hoyas a 4-3 lead. The Hoyas kept up the pressure, and after back-to-back aces by Wen, Georgetown had a 13-7 lead, forcing Providence to call a timeout to try and stop the bleeding. After the timeout, both teams went back and forth, but the Hoyas held their lead and got to a set point up 24-16. A service error from Providence’s freshman setter Miller McDonald ended the set in Georgetown’s favor. The Hoyas dominated the first set 25-16, with nine kills and four service aces. 

Providence responded with a much stronger second set, but the Hoyas ultimately eked out a victory. The Hoyas started out with a two point lead, thanks to an incredible dig by junior libero Karis Park, whose diving throughout the game was unmatched. The set was tied 11-11 midway through and remained that way for several rallies before Providence ultimately pulled ahead to gain a four point lead. After subbing in freshman defense specialist Mei Corricello and taking advantage of a quick Providence timeout, the Hoyas were ultimately able to make a comeback and reach a 19-19 tie. The set saw an extended back and forth between the two teams until the Hoyas were able to achieve another win with a solid kill by senior middle blocker Lydia Schubert.

In a close third set, the Friars were able to turn the tide. After an initial kill by Providence, the set lulled with a series of service errors until around the middle of the set, when Georgetown racked up a brief three point lead, with a powerful block by Wilhite bringing the score 12-9. From there, Providence was able to catch up and gain a lead, swinging the momentum of the set and preventing the Hoyas from recovering. A final attack error from Albaugh on set point gave the set to Providence 22-25.

A nail-biting fourth set went to Providence, allowing the Friars to keep their momentum going. After a strong start to the set from Providence, the Hoyas were able to get settled in, prompted by a great block from Wilhite on an overpass. Georgetown tied up the set at 5-5 thanks to a huge kill executed by Albaugh and assisted by Wen. The teams continued to take turns tying the score—including a long rally at 7-7 that ended in another kill by Albaugh—until Providence pulled away to build a six point lead at 15-9. Providence maintained this lead for the remainder of the set. At set point 23-24, a beautiful tip from Goyena earned the Hoyas a chance at redemption, one which they used to tie the set up one last time at 25-25. Their comeback was ultimately unsuccessful, though, after an attack error by Wilhite cost Georgetown the set point. 

Georgetown looked out of sorts in the final set, and Providence was able to comfortably secure the victory at the end of a long match. The set started out even, with both teams going back and forth until Providence freshman middle blocker Lyric Berry solo blocked Wilhite to give Providence a two point lead. Georgetown kept it close until sophomore setter Ava Enriquez went up to serve for the Friars. While Enriquez was serving, Providence opened up a 12-6 lead;the Hoyas closed the gap a little bit, but a service ace from McDonald gave Providence the match point with the score at 14-9. The Hoyas survived two match points thanks to kills from Goyena, but a service error by Wen ended the match with Providence winning 3 sets to 2. 

Overall, Georgetown got out of rhythm down the stretch and struggled to cope once the momentum of the match swung Providence’s way. Providence had a stronger presence at the net than Georgetown–the Friars recorded 10 blocks, while the Hoyas only got 6. The Friars also had a stronger attack down the stretch, particularly in the fifth set. Goyena led the Hoyas with 23 kills, and no other Georgetown player had double digit kills. Providence had a much more balanced attack; junior outside hitter Shaliya Rhoden, freshman outside hitter Macy Taylor, and junior middle blocker Kayla Grant all had at least 12 kills, with only 8 errors combined between them. Ultimately, Providence played a strong game to get their first conference win of the season on the road.

The Hoyas will host the Villanova Wildcats (11-6, 2-3, BIG EAST) in McDonough Arena at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Oct. 11. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X, formerly Twitter. 

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