Volleyball Beats Georgetown on Senior Night


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Villanova honors its five seniors on Senior Night.

Zac Tipton , Staff Writer

For the first time since 2017, Villanova volleyball won both games during the weekend in five sets. 

This past weekend, in the last home matches of the year, the Wildcats did what they had to and pulled off some miraculous points to get two wins over the last place team in the Big East, Georgetown, along with Butler, which just secured a spot in the Big East Tournament. This moved Villanova’s conference record to 5-11. 

These two games were the exact opposite of each other. In the Georgetown game, Villanova was able to get off to a quick 2-0 set lead, but despite the team leading big late in each of the next two sets, Villanova surrendered two games to force a fifth set, where Villanova would eventually win. Villanova coach Josh Steinbach obviously wanted to win earlier but was glad they got it done in the fifth. 

“We haven’t had a lot of success in close sets this season,” Steinbach said. “We had a lead in third and a huge lead in the fourth. We should’ve closed those things out, but didn’t play well down the stretch. But, the biggest thing to me was we served and passed better all weekend long, and gave ourselves better looks in that match.” 

The Wildcats had a 21-17 lead in both sets and lost them both, but in the fourth, they had a 17-11 lead at one point, thanks to a hot start, but still couldn’t finish. They nearly blew a big advantage in the fifth too, being up 10-5 before allowing five straight points, but two kills of 12 total from junior Riley Homer and another from freshman Tara Garvey, one of her 14, made sure that they would not finish last in the Big East this year.   

However, the Butler game was the exact opposite. Butler won the first two sets despite Villanova having leads in both. When it looked over, the Wildcats fought back and won the next three sets to secure their second win of the weekend. 

Steinbach knew how crazy the Butler game was, but he wasn’t surprised by the outcome. 

“I think it comes down to the fact that internally, we don’t think we are that far away from being a good team,” Steinbach said. “We expect to beat Butler, but we just had not made plays at the important times this year. We had chances to win in almost every match we’ve played this year versus UConn, Butler and Xavier. We feel like we’ve played with the best teams, just haven’t been able to finish sets. Shoot, I don’t think Butler played their best, but we took advantage and finally finished sets.”

The story of the Butler game was the seniors. It was Senior Night for five of the players: Maddie Schieder, Izzy Plummer, Belle Morgan, Anastasia Galanou and Kathleen Johnson. Johnson didn’t play due to an injury, but the rest got a lot of possessions in this game. They didn’t just have their moment either. They contributed in big ways for this team, especially in clutch moments. 

Schieder finished with two aces and 10 digs. Morgan finished with 39 assists and 10 digs. Plummer finished with two kills, while Galanou had six kills.

“I thought the one that had the biggest impact was Maddie Schieder,” Steinbach said. “I thought she played really well. I thought she served the ball well, dug the ball well, and I thought she made a bunch of big plays at big times. Belle had some great finds all game, especially to Kiera [Booth]. Izzy [Plummer] has been getting better throughout the year, and her two kills were both huge in huge moments, including the one that gave us the separation we needed in the fifth set. For Anastasia [Galanou] to get in there and take some big swings was great.”

It was an incredible effort for the seniors, who played in their last matches at home this weekend, but it was a team effort all together, with incredible play from junior Taryn Whittingham and sophomore Rose Crist providing some incredible plays in clutch moments. 

The Wildcats finish their season on the road versus St. John’s and Seton Hall. Villanova shocked St. John’s in Jake Nevin earlier in the season, while Seton Hall defeated the Wildcats. It will be a couple of important matches to build momentum heading into the offseason. The Wildcats are only losing one major contributor this year in Morgan, so they will be trying to establish themselves now to prepare the young group for a comeback year next year.