Volleyball: ‘Nova battles Texas trio

Carolyn Brown

By Carolyn Brown

Staff Reporter

After weeks of preseason practice, the Wildcats were finally challenged to see how much competition they could actually handle with their limited roster this season. Following an easy win over George Mason, Villanova headed to Texas Tech to play top competitors from around the country.

The Wildcats dominated George Mason from the beginning, winning both the first and third games 30-16, and narrowly pulled off the second game, 30-28. The team had a .383 hit percentage and recorded 45 kills, with the two seniors, Alona Cherkez and Kacy Sellers, leading the team with 13 and 14 kills apiece. Sophomore Chelsea Graman recorded 38 assists, while defender Dana Tartazkey recorded 15 digs.

“The team was very excited to finally get a chance to play a match,” Sellers said. “After a long two weeks of preseason, it was nice to finally get out and play someone besides ourselves. We were on point both offensively and defensively and that drove us to victory.”

The Red Raider Roundup featured the Wildcats and Texas Tech in the first round this weekend. Villanova barely lost, as Texas Tech was able to pull out the win in the fifth game. The two teams fought the entire match as the score went back and forth, the Red Raiders taking the lead in the first game while the Wildcats took control, winning games two and three. Tech was able to tie the match in game four, leading to a tough fifth game as the teams swapped leads until the score was 14-14.

“After playing at Texas Tech, our team found out we can compete harder than we thought even though we are a small team with small amount of subtitiutions,” Tartazkey said. “I think that not having new players works for our advantage in some degree, and our experience with one another helps us to come together and play better.  We have a few more matches before the Big East games, and we have a lot of work to do, but I am very confident about our team, and I hope we will see better results.”

The two seniors have really stepped into their roles as leaders of the team, as Sellers and Cherkez again led the team in kills with 14 and 22. Cherkez recorded the first double-double of the season, recording 13 digs along with her kills.

In match number two, Villanova faced Southern Methodist University. Unable to pull out a game in the match, the Wildcats lost 3-0, despite the strong play by Graman with 37 assists and Sellers with 13 kills and four block assists.

Trying to rebound after a couple of tough losses in the beginning of the tournament, the Wildcats faced Lamar University. Another tough five-game match led to a win for Villanova as it defeated Lamar 3-2. Cherkez and Tartazkey both recorded double-doubles in the match; Cherkez had 28 kills and 19 digs, and Tartazkey had 12 kills and 20 digs. Graman again led the team in assists with 63, while sophomore Emily Brown played strong defensively, recording 18 digs.

“This weekend we played some good competition that got us ready for our

Big East opponents,” Sellers said. “We showed ourselves that we are able to compete at

a very high level, and if we play like that in the Big East, we will do

very well. Going into our next games, we are going to focus a lot on our blocking.

We are never going to out-size our opponents, so that skill is very

essential to our defense. We know we just have to go in to every match

ready to work hard and work harder than our opponent.”