Volleyball team set for critical matches

Michael Zipf

This past week the Villanova Women’s volleyball team continued to build on its successful season after posting two victories over Bucknell and Penn. However, the Wildcats suffered a slight setback as they uncharacteristically dropped a match to Big East rival Rutgers.

Nevertheless, with a record of 17-5, the ‘Cats are three or four more wins away from reaching the team’s goal of qualifying for the Big East Tournament.

With seven games left, five road games and two home games, the Wildcats seem posed to achieve this goal and enjoy much success in the tournament. As head coach Gilad Doron stated, “These next couple games are very critical for us.”

On Oct. 14 the Wildcats pulled out a thrilling four set victory over Bucknell. The turning point of the game came in the start of the last set, where the Wildcats used an 11-1 run to secure the victory.

After losing the first game 24-30, the Wildcats were able to overcome the Bison’s charge and win the next three games to capture their 16th victory of the season.

Doron was pleased with his team’s ability to respond after their slow and sluggish start. “At first we started out slow, but then we started to execute and exposed Bucknell’s weaknesses,” he said.

Sophomore Kacy Sellers played an integral role in the team’s hard fought victory as she recorded a best match 19 kills and seven blocks, one short of her career high.

In addition, freshman Alona Cherkez and junior Adrian Semrau made great contributions to the victory each adding nine kills. Overall, the Wildcats ability to come together as a team and execute helped propel them to a very important victory.

However, after their great victory over Bucknell the Wildcats suffered an unfortunate and uncharacteristic setback, losing to conference rival Rutgers.

Heading into the match, the Wildcats had a record of 16-5 and 5-2 in the Big East and looked ready to add another victory against a Rutgers team that posted a 9-11 record and 4-3 record in the Big East. However, an error filled game for the Wildcats proved to be costly as they lost all three sets.

The Wildcats almost narrowly pulled out victories in the first and second sets, losing 29-31 and 31-33. According to Doron, the team seemed to lack the energy and focus that they had possessed the entire season.

In response to the unfortunate loss Doraon stated, “Sometimes you don’t play your best and you lose. However, I don’t feel we were out skilled in this match, we just lacked the energy and intensity needed to be victorious. I keep reminding our girls that we need to play with same intensity and energy for game. Every game we try to play our hardest and execute the best that we can, and that’s all that I can ask.”

On Oct. 18 the Wildcats quickly responded to their coach’s advice, playing a perfectly executed game and displaying the energy needed to earn a victory over a sound Penn team. The Wildcats captured all three sets, including a thrilling first set in which the Wildcats came back from a 29-24 deficit and four game points to be victorious 31-29.

Many Wildcat players enjoyed great games, including junior Adrian Semrau who had a match best 19 kills. In addition, senior Celine Nguyen and freshman Alona Cherkez each recorded double doubles with Nyuyen posting 11 kills and 14 digs and Cherkez adding 14 kills and 13 digs.

Amazingly, Villanova had five players in double figures for digs, including Cherkez and Nguyen, seniors Jenna Link (11) and Megan Bye (12), and junior Dana Kabashima.

Ultimately, the Wildcats played a tremendous game and showed the signs of the brilliance and execution that team will need in order to qualify and play well in the Big East Tournament.

The team’s next game is this Sunday, Oct. 23 against Big East rival Seton Hall at 2 p.m. in the Jake Nevin Field House.