Home sweet home: ‘Cats sweep tourney

Stephen Buszka

The volleyball team started the season on a bit of a down note, dropping nine of their first 10 matches of the year on the road. Coming into the Villanova Tournament, the team wanted to improve that record and pick up some momentum for the rest of the year. That is just what they did, winning all three matches by scores of 3-0.

“We had been playing some really tough teams in the preseason and we had been playing them closely, falling just short,” senior Adrian Semrau, the Big East Player of the Week, said. “We just wanted to execute and play our game. You never want to play down to the level of your competition and you can’t underestimate, you have to respect your competition. We came out focused and just ready to execute on our side of the net and the scores reflected our level of discipline.”

In their first match up of the tournament, the Wildcats faced off against Holy Cross and showed the Crusaders how happy the ‘Cats were to be home by sweeping the visiting team in three straight games with scores of 30-12, 30-12 and 30-25 to record their second match win of the season. The team was paced by 17 kills from junior Kacy Sellers, who was named to the all-tournament team, and 14 from Semrau.

The ‘Cats continued to display their satisfaction of playing at home. In their second match on Friday the team rolled once again to victory, this time against Sacred Heart. The Pioneers played respectably but were outmatched against the Wildcats and fell in three straight games with scores of 30-19, 30-12 and 30-21. Once again, the team effort of ‘Nova’s offense was paced by Semrau with help from freshman Elysse Studzinski and Sellers who both recorded 9 kills each. Senior Jenna Link contributed 30 assists.

The team followed up their second consecutive win with another outstanding game against UMBC in which, for the third time this tournament, they swept all three games, winning game by a margin of at least five.

Having as successful a tournament as the team did, three Wildcats received tournament accolades. Sellers and Link were both named to the all-tournament team and Semrau, who led the team with 52 kills, was named as the tournament’s MVP.

“[Coach] Gilad definitely pushed me all week to run a faster hit out of the middle,” said Semrau. “All week Gilad was telling me to go faster, to get my arm up quicker. I stopped in to watch some game film on Tuesday of last week and just saw myself and sometimes that picture is worth 1,000 words. It showed me what I was doing wrong and what I needed to tweak.”

The team looks to carry these wins over to the match against DePual this Saturday and extend its season-high winning streak to four matches.

“We’re a pretty young team, so I think that these wins are good, Semrau said. “It definitely set a good tone for us and proved to ourselves that we can play at a high level of intensity and with concentration I think we’ll take this as a good starting point and hopefully bring the same intensity and energy that marked all of these matches and take them on the road and through the rest of our home games.”