Volleyball Starts Big East Play 0-2


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Volleyball Starts Big East Play 0-2

Zac Tipton, Staff Writer

Villanova started its conference schedule facing two of the top schools in the Big East, Marquette and DePaul. Marquette came in on Friday and took the Cats down in four sets (25-20, 14-25, 23-25, 15-25) to boost its record to 10-2. Villanova then faced DePaul on Saturday and couldn’t stay in the game, losing 3-0 (17-25, 20-25, 22-25) and bringing DePaul’s record to 9-5. Villanova ended the weekend 8-6.

Marquette came into the weekend ranked 26th in the NCAA, trying to break into the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll. When asked about Marquette before the game, Villanova head coach John Steinbach said, “Marquette’s been one of the toughest matchups for us over the past few years. They are really physical. They are very talented. They are good.” 

Villanova came out strong against the Golden Eagles. The ‘Cats took the lead at 3-1 and never looked back, winning 25-20 despite constant chipping away from Marquette. Villanova had a total of 13 kills in the set. Marquette had 11 kills but eight errors, while the Wildcats only made three errors. 

In the second set, Marquette turned the tide, grabbing the lead early and never giving the Wildcats a chance. Ahead 8-6, the Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run and dominated the rest of the way, winning 25-14 to even up the match. Marquette had 11 kills and only four errors in the set, while Villanova had just six kills.

The third set was far more competitive for both teams. Down 11-14, Villanova went on a 3-0 run with kills from Riley Homer and Sanaä Barnes to tie it up at 14. Eight ties and one kill from Homer later, the set was tied at 22. Marquette had three kills in the last four points to take the set 25-23. Both teams had a game-high amount of kills in the set: Villanova had 14 and Marquette had 19. 

The Golden Eagles ran away with the last set to win the game 3-1, winning 25-14, thanks to a .304 kill percentage. Homer finished the match with a team high 18 kills. Marquette’s Taylor Wolf, who Steinbach described before the game as “a good old-school volleyball player,” had 22 assists and nine kills. Hope Werch led Marquette with 13 kills. Villanova fell to 8-5 for the year, while Marquette went to 10-2.

DePaul came into Jake Nevin Fieldhouse on Saturday with an 8-5 record and on a four game winning streak, but the Blue Demons had not beaten Villanova in the Fieldhouse since 2012. 

Villanova was down early 14-6 but had a stretch in which it won four of five points to cut it down to 19-14. But Bailey Nelson, Emma Price and Hanna Karl had a string of kills that gave the Blue Demons the 25-17 win in the first. 

Homer came out fast to start the second set, with two kills in the first seven points to take the lead 5-2. DePaul came back and won five of the next six to take an 8-7 lead. With three lead changes, DePaul was able to break away and take a 18-13 lead. Villanova pushed back, but DePaul finished strong and won the second set, 25-20. 

Villanova started out fast again with a 5-1 lead, but Rachel Krasowski’s serving helped the Blue Demons go on a 5-0 run to take it back 6-5. There were nine ties and five lead changes in this set, but Villanova made four errors, and a Nelson kill allowed DePaul to take a 19-15 lead. Villanova tried to come back, pushing it to 22-21, but DePaul held on thanks to a couple of kills and a block. DePaul won the final set, 25-21, to improve to 9-5, while Villanova fell to 8-6. Homer has accumulated 12 games with double-digit kills so far this season, while Kiera Booth has 11. Jill Kassidy led the Blue Demons with 12 kills. 

Villanova will stay home next weekend to continue its conference schedule. On Friday, the Wildcats will face Xavier (6-6), which lost to 16th ranked Creighton. On Saturday, the Wildcats will face Butler (7-8), which opened conference play with a three-set win over Providence.