Volleyball opens Big East play

Mark O'Neil

The volleyball team opened Big East play this past weekend, with matches against St. John’s on Friday night and Connecticut on Sunday. The ‘Cats won 3-1 against St. John’s on Friday night and then traveled to Connecticut on Sunday where they won with a 3-0 sweep. The win against Connecticut was the 12th win in a row for the team.

In the game against St. John’s, redshirt sophomore Morgan Petkovich led the way for ‘Nova with 16 kills and 14 digs, as she was one of three Wildcats to have double-digit kills. Junior Maggie Mergen had 13 kills, while sophomore Krista Andersen had 11.

St. John’s took an early lead in the first set, but the ‘Cats were able to come back and win the set 25-19. Villanova once again fell behind early in the second set, but the team battled back behind great service from junior Kim Maroon and kills from Petkovich and Mergen to win the set 25-21.

‘Nova dropped the third set 25-22, but the team jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set and never looked back. The Red Storm tried to make a run at 22-19, but Petkovich responded with two kills to ice the game before a St. John’s error ended the match with a 25-22 victory for ‘Nova. During the match, freshman Alyssa Anderson had 43 assists, while Maroon notched 20 digs for the game.

After the win at St. John’s, the team headed to Storrs, Conn. to take on the Huskies in their second Big East match of the season.

The Wildcats jumped out to a quick lead in the opening set, and after obtaining a 13-7 lead, Petkovich served for six points, putting the set out of reach as the ‘Cats went on to win the set 25-11. The Huskies battled back in the second set, eventually taking a 20-19 lead, but they committed six consecutive errors to hand the game back to the ‘Cats. Petkovich added another kill, and ‘Nova went on to win the second set on another error from UConn.

The third set was closely contested, as once again the Huskies managed to tie up the score late in the game at 19 apiece. Sophomore CeCe Twitty won two straight points off a kill and an ace to tie the score at 21-21, and from there Villanova would score the final four points of the game. A kill from Andersen and an ace by Twitty finished off the third game as the ‘Cats swept the Huskies for their second Big East win of the season. Maroon had a season-best 29 digs during the game while Anderson contributed with 25 assists.

The ‘Cats’ next game will be tomorrow at 7 p.m. against Big East opponent Marquette, and they will finish the weekend against Syracuse on Sunday. Both games will be played at home in the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse.