Nov. 4, 2011
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University volleyball team will travel down to Tampa to play their last road game of the season against the South Florida Bulls. This will also be the first time freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Plant) will play in her home town in her collegiate career.
The Hoyas are 14-10 on the season and 6-5 in the BIG EAST conference. South Florida is 9-14 on the season and 5-5 in conference play.
Johnson leads Georgetown in kills, total attacks and points. She has 281 kills on 868 attempts and 315 total points on the season. She and the other freshmen have made significant contributions to the Hoyas' side of the net. She has embraced her role and is grateful for having two mentors that push her to be a better player.
"Brooke (Bachesta) is one of the hardest workers I've ever played with, and being in the same position as her has encouraged me to work harder to get better as well. She's a great role model. Annalee (Abell)'s determination and competitive spirit is extremely admirable. No matter what we're doing whether it's just practicing or playing in games, she always wants to win, and it helps me to always stay competitive."
Despite the homecoming for Johnson, Head Coach Arlisa Williams expects a fierce team in the Bulls to show up Sunday afternoon and stall the Hoyas' four -game winning streak.
"South Florida is a tough team, and they have a tough gym to play in. They play in an electric gym called the Corral. It's loud, there are cheerleaders, and the bull is running and amplifying the crowd, and they are on top of you. It's going to be a tough but fun and exciting environment.
"They're a well coached team. Their coach has done a great job with that team down in Tampa, and they have a very good outside, a good right side and an extremely effective middle. Some positions will present some challenges, but I'm confident in our defense to match up well with them. And they have enough depth where they can create very different rotations throughout sets. We'll just need to adjust to some changes on the fly and take care of our side of the net."
Transitioning from Connecticut to Seton Hall and from Seton Hall to Rutgers, Williams emphasized taking care of "our side of the net" and playing low-error volleyball to not only stay in the game, but ultimately win.
"Seton Hall was fifth in the BIG EAST at the time of the match. They have a very talented freshman setter, outside and a stud of a senior on the right side. However, the coaching staff just stressed being a low-error volleyball team and defending our half of the court, and if we can do that, regardless of the outcome, I was going to be a happy coach. But we won, so I was an extremely happy coach.
"Rutgers was a tough one. We had yet to win at Rutgers in my time at Georgetown, and they were a scrappy team and can defend their house extremely well. I just told the players to play low-error again and taking care of our side of the net. One of the points I stress heavily is five errors or less per set will equate to a victory. Games one and two contained five unforced errors or less, games three and four had six, and game five had four. Those are the games we won. If we can have at most five errors, that's 20 points the opponent has to tally, which is hard to do because we have a strong defensive team."
The Hoyas are coming off of two consecutive weekend sweeps, one at home and one on the road, against four competitive teams. The Hoyas defeated the St. John's Red Storm October 21 in four sets, and then beat the Connecticut Huskies in five on October 23. They then went on the road to New Jersey to beat the Seton Hall Pirates and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in five sets this past weekend.
Both games were poised to be Georgetown sweeps after taking the first two sets in overwhelming fashion, but the teams came back and took games three and four, as Williams was quoted saying it's attributable to not playing low-error volleyball. The final set in both games was in Georgetown's favor as they went on early and overpowering runs that they didn't relinquish at any point in the games.
Senior captain libero Tory Rezin (Morris, Ill./Morris) became Georgetown's official all-time leader in digs Friday night against the Pirates. She has 356 on the season and needed 17 to break the record and amassed 19 in the winning effort. She attained another 12 Sunday afternoon to extend the number to 1,590 in her career, and still has three games left to play The digs record was in place since 1992.
Senior setter Ashley Malone (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) heavily improved her chances to take the all-time assists record. She has 960 on the season and 3,424 assists in her career. She is 162 shy of breaking the record of 3,585 set in 2004.
Rezin, Malone and Johnson are first through third in digs and assists along with being first, second and fourth in service aces. Freshman middle blocker Dani White (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) is fifth in the conference with a .311 hitting percentage, and also has four assists, five service aces, 32 digs, 10 block solos, 82 block assists and 264 total points on the season.
Georgetown will return to McDonough Arena to host the Cincinnati Bearcats and Louisville Cardinals Friday, November 11 and Sunday, November 13. These will be the last two games of the Hoyas' season before potentially playing in the BIG EAST Tournament in Milwaukee, Wis.