Villanova beats volleyball in four sets

October 17, 2023

Photo by Daniel Rankin

Georgetown women’s volleyball (12-7, 3-4 BIG EAST) lost a tough midweek match against Villanova (12-7, 3-4 BIG EAST) on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at McDonough Arena. Both teams showed impressive defensive abilities in a match full of long rallies, but the Wildcats ultimately prevailed in a nailbiter where every set was decided by four or fewer points.

Georgetown freshman setter Emily Wen started the first set with consecutive aces, but Villanova battled back and opened up a 13-8 lead partially thanks to a four-point streak while junior setter/defensive specialist Dani Ortiz was serving. The Hoyas closed the gap slightly thanks to Wen’s serves, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Villanova closed out the set thanks to a block by freshman outside hitter Abby Harrell and senior middle blocker Madeline Barber. Attacking errors made the difference in the first set. The Hoyas had six, while the Wildcats only had three, and those mistakes ultimately cost Georgetown.

The second set started out close; neither team was able to open up a significant lead until junior outside hitter Mary Grace Goyena got a service ace to put Georgetown up 19-15. The Hoyas got another huge point off a long rally to extend the lead to 20-15. Junior libero Karis Park got a pancake dig to keep the point alive, then Wen finished the point by placing the ball where no Villanova defenders could reach it. However, the Wildcats soon came back to tie the game at 23-23. Sophomore outside hitter Skylar Gerhardt went up to serve for Villanova, and she hit two great serves in a row that Georgetown failed to return. The set ended 25-23 in favor of the Wildcats. 

Georgetown fared much better in the third set; Wen’s serves again gave the Wildcats trouble early on. The Hoyas jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, forcing Villanova to take a timeout. Once again, Villanova came back to make it a close set, and it was all tied up at 23-23 when Goyena, assisted by Wen, secured a huge kill for the Hoyas to get Georgetown’s first set point of the match. Wen’s serve gave the Wildcats enough trouble to earn an offensive chance for the Hoyas, and she set up Goyena for the kill to win the third set. Although it was close, Georgetown played very well in the third set, especially defensively during some long rallies. 

In the fourth set, Villanova led the entire way, starting with seven points in a row thanks to Harrell’s serve. Georgetown was unable to truly make the set close despite a solid serving run from freshman middle blocker Kamryn Lee-Caracci. Villanova got their first match point with a comfortable lead at 24-18;though Georgetown fought hard, a kill by Villanova senior outside hitter Riley Homer gave the Wildcats the win in four sets.

Both teams left McDonough with identical records, and the match statistics also show that it was an even game. Georgetown had 49 kills while Villanova recorded 48, and both teams had ten service aces. However, the biggest difference was in attack errors–the Hoyas made 22, while the Wildcats only made 15 errors. The Hoyas will hope they can get revenge when they travel to Villanova for a rematch on Oct. 25.

The Hoyas travel to Omaha, Nebraska to face the Creighton Bluejays (11-6, 2-3, BIG EAST) at 7 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 13. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X, formerly Twitter. 

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