Wildcats fail to dig out win on road trip

Kaitlin Gallagher

This past weekend was the last weekend of play for the women’s volleyball team. With back-to-back matches on the road against UConn and St. John’s, the Wildcats needed one victory to guarantee a place in the Big East tournament next weekend.

On Friday, the Wildcats traveled to the University of Connecticut for match No. 1 of the two-match weekend. Villanova appeared to have the victory in game one with a score of 26-24, when UConn called a timeout. However, the timeout allowed the Huskies to steal the momentum and take the game 30-28.

Game two seemed to be a repeat of the first with Villanova reaching game point with a 30-29 score. However, two precisely-placed kills not only took the lead from the Wildcats, but also left the Huskies with a 2-0 lead in the match.

The match ended with a 3-0 Huskies victory when the Wildcats once again could not maintain the momentum necessary for a win. With a 23-22 lead, the Wildcats gave up essential points, ultimately falling 30-27.

Heading into Saturday’s match, the Wildcats had much on the line. With only one spot left in the Big East tournament, a victory against St. John’s would ensure the Wildcats the eighth seed in the tournament later this month.

Villanova stormed the gymnasium at St. John’s with an early 8-5 lead against the hometown Red Storm. From there, the Wildcats battled point for point until a ‘Nova error and a well-placed serve by St. John’s gave the Red Storm a 1-0 lead heading into game two.

Playing with nothing to lose, the Wildcats took games two and three with phenomenal play by Adrian Semrau, Kacy Sellers and Kelly Ludwig. Giving the Red Storm their first home loss of the season in game two (St. John’s previously held a 28-0 record at home), Villanova followed with another victory in game three with a score of 30-27.

With a 2-1 lead heading into game four, the Wildcats appeared to have an energy lull. A final score of 30-16 for the Red Storm quickly dashed any momentum the Wildcats could have carried with them into the fifth and final game of the match.

Although St. John’s ended game five with a victory and ended the match 3-2, the Wildcats were the first team since September to force the No. 1 ranked team into five games.

Saturday’s loss marked the end of Villanova’s 2006 season. The loss to St. John’s gave the final spot at the Big East tournament to USF, despite its loss earlier in the day to Cincinnati.

Saturday’s game was the final game for Wildcat seniors Semrau, Sellers and Jenna Link. Villanova ended its season with a 16-16 record (7-8 in the Big East).