Big East Coaches Poll Selects Volleyball to Finish Second in Preseason Standings


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

The ‘Cats will play La Salle in their first matchup.

Meghann Morhardt, Staff Writer

After not being able to have a fall season due to COVID-19, the Villanova women’s volleyball team is ready and eager to get back to competition this spring. 

The Big East decided to postpone all fall sports and instead have the teams compete in a modified season during the spring semester, with fewer games and less travel. Typically, the women’s volleyball team would have 18 Big East games, as well as at least 10 non-conference games, but due to the re-structured conference play and the restrictions, they will only be able to play a total of 14 games and are limited to eight within the Big East. 

After Georgetown opted out of this season, the Big East split the remaining 10 teams into two divisions, the East and the Midwest. The teams will play two games against each team in their division, both at the same site. 

Villanova is in the East division, along with Seton Hall, UConn, St. John’s and Providence. The Wildcats will host Seton Hall and UConn, and they will travel to Providence and St. John’s. With UConn rejoining the Big East, this will be the first time the two teams have met since 2017. Villanova won the last matchup 3-0. UConn volleyball has faced some struggles in the past few years, with their last winning season being 2016. 

Villanova’s non-conference opponents include University of Delaware, Pitt, George Mason and LaSalle. 

These games are not regulated by the Big East, so the format will not be quite the same. The ‘Cats will play both Delaware and LaSalle twice, but play one game at home and one on the road for each opponent. 

Last year, Villanova finished with an overall record of 22-9, 13-5 in conference play and finished third in the Big East. The team lost five seniors last season including Emma Decker, who holds the Villanova record for most career assists, and stand-out players Regan Lough and Allie Olsonoski. The ‘Cats will look to fill these key roles with returning players as well as the seven new freshmen that they added to the team during the offseason. 

Preseason awards and coaches polls came out last week and given the new structure, the team rankings are based on the divisions rather than the conference as a whole. In the East division, the Wildcats were picked to finish second, with St. John’s predicted to come in on top. The Wildcats received one first place vote, while St. John’s earned the other four. 

The ‘Cats split their regular season series with the Red Storm last year, with each team winning one match. This should make for more competitive matches this spring while Villanova tries to beat out St. John’s for the division title.