Aug. 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Georgetown University volleyball team took huge steps under Head Coach Arlisa Williams during the 2008 season, improving by eight victories overall and moving into the middle of the pack in the BIG EAST. But after the loss of its two senior captains from a year ago, the Hoyas were selected to slip back to 11th in the preseason BIG EAST Coaches poll.
"Losing both Caitlin Boland and Kit Niesen, who were two four-year starters was tough," Williams said. "But in their departure we've seen several players step up to the plate. I think the biggest thing is Ashley Malone taking control and leading us from that setting position and she really has us covered on the court. Off the court I think Kiersten McKoy and Courtney Cohen, who were voted our captains this year have stepped up. But the most gratifying thing is to see each member of the team hold each other accountable, so now we're seeing leadership from all areas of our team."
Here is a position-by-position break down of what to expect when the Hoyas open its 2009 season on Friday, August 28 against George Washington at the D.C. Classic:
Outside Hitters - Junior Kortney Robinson, who was second on the 2007 squad with 265 kills returns to the lineup after a yearlong hiatus. At outside hitter she will join sophomore Sara Manley, who had a strong freshman season, finishing second on the team with 226 kills. Junior Samantha Trauth and freshman Paris Coleman will have the opportunity to contribute on the outside for GU.
"I'm excited to have the depth their because so many balls in college volleyball go out to the pins and so for us to have some depth will really help us," Williams said. "Paris brings us some athleticism and depth. Kortney came back and her game is tight and with Samantha we just need to keep her healthy because she was hitting really well at the beginning of preseason. Sara Manley is just rock solid as always."
Middle Blockers - The Hoyas will not have as much depth in the middle but should benefit from strong play from junior Vanessa Dorismond. The Cary, N.C. native ended the 2008 season on a strong note being named to the BIG EAST Honor roll in the final week of the regular season after a 17 kill and four block performance against Seton Hall. Dorismond will be joined in the middle by a pair of 6-3 freshmen in Lindsay Wise and Annalee Abell.
"I think Vanessa Dorismond worked really hard this summer and has been blocking balls really well in the preseason, so I think we can expect big things from her," Williams said. "Lindsay Wise has been a pleasant surprise. We knew she was going to be good, but we didn't know she was going to be this good this soon."
Setter - At setter, the Hoyas will be faced with replacing Boland, who finished her four-year career at Georgetown third all-time in assists. The job will go to Malone, who showed flashes of promise during the 2008 season, including a 34 assist performance in a hard fought 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 5. Sophomore Holly Jacobus, a transfer student from UC Berkeley will push Malone for playing time.
"Ashley has looked really good. She came back in good shape, she worked really hard this summer, she's putting up a good ball, she's playing great defense for us, is blocking well and I think Ashley is very capable of running our offense," Williams said. "Holly Jacobus, who transferred in is a work horse. She's going to go out and try to out work you every single chance she gets and that's what you need there."
Libero/Defensive Specialist - Tory Rezin returns at libero after a strong freshman campaign, that saw her lead the club with 331 digs and earn MVP honors in the 2008 Georgetown Classic. Freshman Christina Johnson will add depth after a strong high school career.
"Tory had a great spring and we're looking forward to her continuing that as our libero," Williams said. "Johnson had great club experience and is coming in working hard and learning how the college game is played and that's all we can ask from her."
Right-Side Hitters - Senior captains Courtney Cohen and Kiersten McKoy will bring experience on the right side for the Hoyas. Cohen played in each of GU's 27 matches finishing third on the team with 39 total blocks and fifth with 140 kills gives the Hoyas size along the front line. McKoy, who saw time at middle blocker a year ago gives the Blue and Gray and athletic dimension on the right side.
"Both of them are blocking well, I think Kiersten will be able to terminate for us early, "Williams said. "I think Cohen should be a strong role player for us."