Wildcats sweep Big 5, Big East rivals

Kaitlin Gallagher

When senior Adrian Semrau ended Friday night’s match in game three with a solo block against Seton Hall, she did more than clinch the victory for the Villanova women’s volleyball team: she finished Senior Night with a career blocking high. Eleven blocks accompanied by 14 kills made Semrau’s last game in the Jake Nevin Field House one of her most memorable yet.

Semrau and fellow seniors Jenna Link and Kelly Ludwig were honored on Friday night for their contributions to the team and the athletic program during their time here at Villanova. In their final home match at Villanova, Semrau, Link and Ludwig led their teammates to a 3-0 victory over Seton Hall.

During intense play against Seton Hall’s Pirates in game one, the Wildcats battled their way to victory after the Pirates failed to produce the momentum needed to claim the win. In three game-point opportunities for the Pirates, ‘Nova was able to fight off defeat despite an initial 28-29 deficit. Down by one point, the Wildcats rallied, finishing the game with a 34-32 win and giving themselves a 1-0 advantage heading into game two.

‘Nova dominated the second game. When it was over, the notable 30-16 score almost matched the impressive statistics posted by the ‘Nova women. Keeping attacking errors to a minimum, the Wildcats finished game two with a mere three hitting mistakes, leaving the team average at .394.

With an 0-2 record starting game three, Seton Hall’s game improved dramatically. In an ending that closely mimicked that of game one, Villanova once again eluded defeat in a game-point situation. After winning a point off the Pirates’ serve, ‘Nova played to earn the two points necessary to finish the match, which culminated in Semrau’s solo block.

When the night was over, the entire team had reason to celebrate. Despite matching kill numbers with their opponents (both teams recorded 48 kills), the Wildcats’ offensive error statistics were almost half that of their opponents. They logged 18 hitting errors compared to Seton Hall’s 34. Semrau led the team in kills with 14 and played a perfect offensive game, hitting .500 when the match was over. Following closely behind were sophomores Dana Tartazky with 11 kills and Alona Cherkez with nine.

Although ‘Nova’s hitting statistics far surpassed that of its competitor, it was the Wildcats’ blocking that kept them alive in Friday night’s match. Semrau’s career blocking high was accompanied by a team high of 17 blocks, many of which came at critical points of the match. Seton Hall’s final block total was three.

Villanova’s next game is Nov. 11 when they play the Connecticut Huskies. UConn trails ‘Nova in the conference standings with a 6-6 record. With only two matches left against Big East opponents, the ‘Cats need to secure a victory against at least one of the remaining two competitors in order to win their spot in the conference tournament. The team has made appearances at the Big East Tournament, which is played in the later part of November, two of the last three years. Friday’s victory over Seton Hall leaves the ‘Cats with a 7-5 Big East record (16-13 overall) heading into the final matches of regular season.