Volleyball faces bump in the road in Big East schedule

Nayib Moran

After a tough loss against the Cincinnati Bearcats (15-25, 23-25 and 23-25) in their first Big East Conference game, ‘Nova’s volleyball team looked to bounce back. The next team in line was the Louisville Cardinals, who played their first conference game at Villanova’s Jake Nevin Field House Sept. 27th.

The ‘Cats got a quick lead of 6-1, thanks to sophomore Maggie Mergen, senior Elysse Studzinki, senior Amy Gulyas, and freshman Krista Andersen’s kills. The Cardinals tried to stop the Wildcats’ strong start, but Gulyas posted two aces in a row, leading the ‘Cats to a 9-3 lead. Gulyas finished up posting five aces in the first set. The ‘Cats quick and relentless first set showing, allowed them to obtain a 25-15 win.

As opposed to the first set, Nova’s volleyball team lost intensity and allowed Louisville to have a quick lead of 1-4. Kills by Andersen and Gulyas tied things up to 5-5, but unfortunately, an error and two straight kills from the Cardinals caused Head Coach Josh Steinbach to call ‘Nova’s first timeout of the contest.

Just when the Wildcats were trying to get their act back together, with the score at 14-17, the ‘Cats suffered three blocks, which provoked coach Steinbach to toss his strategy sheets underneath his coach’s seat. Anastasia Artemeva led the Cardinals in two of the blocks and concluded the game with three. Louisville took the second set 15-25.

Two good serves by sophomore Kim Maroon allowed the ‘Cats to start confidently the crucial third set. Lola Arslanbekova posted a kill and then a block, Louisville quickly got a 2-6 lead and Steinbach called a timeout. Artemeva joined Arslanbekova by getting a kill and put the Cardinals on top 5-7.

The Wildcats started a rally thanks to Studzinki’s kills which rought ‘Nova a bit closer. They now trailed 9-11 and minutes later Gulyas followed with two good serves, which led to two attack errors by the Cardinals. The scoreboard now showed 13-14. Though Andersen, who had been quiet after coming from a 17 kill performance against Cincinnati, began to showcase her talent by posting an ace and five kills, it was Arslanbekova and Artemeva, who combined for eight of the 13 kills the Cardinals posted in the third set and led their team to a 22-25 win.

In an act to boost the girls’ confidence, Studzinki exclaimed in the huddle, “It’s not over yet!” Fortunately, the team got to a quick 5-1 lead, but Artemeva, who finished the game with 10 kills, got two kills and set Louisville back on track, though Villanova still had the lead 6-5. The team began to fall apart. Miscommunication, bad serves, attack errors and suffered blocks allowed Louisville to take home the victory. They closed down the fourth set with a 15-25 win.

‘Nova’s next contest will be tomorrow at DePaul.