Volleyball runs table in Maryland

Andrew Gordon

The women’s volleyball team opened its season with a successful weekend at the Maryland Invitational in College Park, Maryland.

The Wildcats left the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record after defeating Youngstown State, Stony Brook and host Maryland. Sophomore Morgan Petkovich was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while fellow sophomores Kim Maroon and Maggie Mergen were chosen for the all-tournament team.

The ‘Cats opened the Springfield Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational with a victory over Youngstown State, winning the match 3-1 with scores of 18-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-20. Villanova had trouble in the first set, but quickly turned the momentum in their favor in the second frame. Rebounding from a set in which they committed eight attack errors, ‘Nova managed an error-free second set.

The Wildcats ran away with the third frame, maintaining a sizeable lead throughout. An early 8-1 run in the fourth set gave Villanova a win in its first competition of the season. Petkovich finished with a match-high 18 kills, while senior setter Chelsea Graman tallied 39 assists. Maroon recorded 22 digs to go along with her three aces.

Villanova defeated Stony Brook in five sets on Saturday to remain undefeated. Petkovich led the way for the Wildcats in the first set with seven kills. Committing just one attack error, Villanova easily took the set with a score of 25-17.

The Seawolves stormed back to take the second set 25-20, despite a fierce fight from the Wildcats. On six occasions, ‘Nova fought back to tie the score, but Stony Brook responded to the pressure. The third frame of the match saw a continuation of the momentum built up in the previous set, as the Seawolves used their offensive firepower to gain a 10-point lead.

Even with a 6-1 late rally started by one of Petkovich’s match-high 20 kills, Stony Brook prevailed to take a one frame lead in the match. The tide of the match, however, turned in the fourth set as Villanova sharpened their play, committing only two attack errors in the final two sets.

The ‘Cats offense was too much for the ‘Wolves as they took sets four and five 25-16 and 15-6, respectively. Freshman Krista Andersen recorded 16 kills and Mergen added 13 of her own to the victory.

The Wildcats’ best match of the weekend came against the host Maryland Terrapins, as they swept them 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-15) to remain perfect in their opening weekend of competition. After starting the first set slowly and falling into a three-point deficit, Villanova fought back to take the lead and never gave it up. Despite a surge from Maryland at the end of the set, a kill from Mergen put the frame away.

The second set started with two consecutive points Villanova, followed by a series of points traded between the two teams. The set remained close until the very end, as Maryland had closed the gap to 24-21, but another kill by Mergen gave Villanova the frame.

The final set belonged to the Wildcats as they jumped out to an early 10-3 lead. After a late 7-1 run by Villanova, a kill by Petkovich sealed the victory. Mergen had a match-high 14 kills and Andersen added 12. Petkovich notched 12 kills and 12 digs for her first double-double of the season.

Villanova returned to the court on Tuseday as they traveled to Brooklyn, N.Y. to take on Long Island. The Wildcats continued their strong play with a sweep over the Blackbirds, committing only six errors in the match.