Volleyball: Wildcats lose two of three in tourney

Jamie Augustinsky

The volleyball team participated in the Nittany Lion Invitational in State College, Pa., this past weekend. The Wildcats played in three matches and went 1-2 in the tournament with a win against Long Island and losses to George Washington and Penn State. Upperclassmen Dana Tartazky and Chelsea Graman displayed leadership in their good play throughout the tournament, while freshmen Maggie Mergen and Kim Maroon showed promise in their first season on the team. A week after being named to the Big East Honor Roll, freshman Morgan Petkovich kept up her stellar play in the tournament.

The Wildcats first faced the George Washington Colonials on Sept. 5. Despite a career-high 21 kills by senior outside hitter Tartazky, Villanova dropped the match 3-1. The freshman duo of Petkovich and Mergen also had double-digit kills with 18 and 15, respectively. Junior setter Graman led the team in assists with 59, and she and Tartazky each posted 11 digs to give them both double-doubles in the match. Junior Amy Gulyas posted 17 digs in the match, while freshman Maroon had 16.

Villanova’s second game of the tournament came on Sept. 6 when the team took on the Long Island Blackbirds. The ‘Cats swept Long Island 3-0 in a quick match where they won the sets by scores of 28-26, 25-20 and 25-17. Again, freshmen Mergen and Petkovich showed promising play as they each notched double-digit kills. Graman again led the team in assits with 36, and Gulyas and Maroon led the team in digs with 10 each. The team hit .310 in the match, while the defensive play by the ‘Cats held the Blackbirds to hit at a mere .098.

That evening, the ‘Cats took on the No. 1-ranked host team but could not overcome an early deficit as they were swept 3-0 by the Nittany Lions. Tartazky again led the team with 10 kills, and Graman was the team leader in assists for the third time in as many games with 13. Maroon continued to produce for the team as she had nine digs in the match, while senior Kaela Frizzell posted eight digs.

One of the bright stars of the tournament was outside hitter Tartazky. The senior was rewarded for her play by being named to the Big East honor roll Monday afternoon. Throughout the Nittany Lion Invitational, Tartazky recorded 35 kills, just under four per set, and 20 digs.

After the Nittany Lion tournament, the ‘Cats sit at .500 with a 3-3 record. This weekend will be a big travel tournament for Villanova. The team will travel to San Francisco, Calif., to partake in the San Francisco Tournament. The Wildcats will face Miami tomorrow before playing two games Saturday. The volleyball team will play matches against host San Francisco before taking on Sacramento State later in the day.