Wildcats picked to finish seventh in the BIG EAST by league head coaches
Returning seven seniors, the Wildcats look to play deep into the season
Despite the three-set loss to Marquette, the Wildcats can be proud of effort at last home match of 2014 season.
Michaela Berendt and Claire Crutchfield to join Wildcats next season
CeCe Twitty paced Villanova with six kills and three blocks
Josh Steinbach finished his eighth season as Villanova's head coach in 2014, and is the longest-tenured volleyball coach in the program's 40 years as a varsity sport. Steinbach, who has a career record of 123-117 (.513). His 123 wins are the most in program history.
He was the BIG EAST Coach of the Year in his first season at Villanova and has developed the program into one that is capable of being consistently successful in the BIG EAST Conference.
Steinbach led his Villanova team to a winning record in four of his first five seasons as head coach, including a combined 40 victories between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He coached his youngest ever Wildcats squad to 11 victories in 2012 and mentored a team that made a great deal of progress over the course of the season.
With 11 of the team's 17 players being underclassmen, Steinbach led Villanova to 12 victories in 2013. Both Mariah Henley and Gabby Pethokoukis were elected Second Team All-BIG EAST, while Henley racked up numerous accolades to conclude her career with the Wildcats. The former captain finished with the third most digs (1,703 digs) and fourth most digs per set (3.91) in school history, leaving her mark as one of the program's all-time greats.
During the 2012 season senior Krista Andersen became the 14th player in school history to reach 1,000 career kills, while junior Mariah Henley stepped into a prominent role and immediately continued the tradition of great Villanova liberos. She recorded her 1,000th career dig midway through the season and finished the year as one of the top defensive players in the conference.
Team and individual honors have been plentiful with Steinbach at the helm. He led the Wildcats to consecutive appearances in the BIG EAST Championship in 2010 and 2011, marking the first time Villanova qualified for the conference tournament in back-to-back years since 1996-97.
Following the 2011 season senior libero Kim Maroon was named a third team All-American by the ACVA. She is the only player in program history to earn that high a distinction and she was previously an honorable mention All-America choice in 2009. The only other All-American in program history also played under Steinbach, as Alona Cherkez was an honorable mention pick in 2007. Maroon was also named the BIG EAST Libero of the Year in consecutive seasons (2010-11).
Steinbach has seen his Wildcats earn five AVCA All-Region honors while being named All-BIG EAST selections 13 times. Maroon is the only three-time all-region honoree in program history and earned that distinction three straight years from 2009-11. She was joined on the All-Northeast Region team by teammate Maggie Mergen in 2010, while Cherkez previously earned the honor in 2007. The BIG EAST honors for Villanova since 2007 have included six All-BIG EAST first team selections, seven second team picks and more than 45 weekly award winners. Maroon and Mergen each were first team selections in consecutive seasons in 2010-11.
The start of Steinbach's tenure at Villanova was an extremely successful one, as he led his 2007 squad to a 17-12 record, a 9-5 mark in BIG EAST play and the No. 3 seed in the BIG EAST Championship. He was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for his efforts and the Wildcats had multiple players selected to the all-conference first team for the first time in 15 years.
There has been no shortage of record-setting performances under Steinbach's watch. Maroon surpassed 2,000 career digs as a senior and her 2011 season total of 749 digs stand as the BIG EAST single-season record. Cherkez, meanwhile, set a single-season school record with 642 kills in 2007. In addition, Mergan and Morgan Petkovich each surpassed 1,000 career kills during the 2011 season. Current setter, Emma Pettit ranks eighth in the program's history for career assists (1,817), while averaging the sixth most assists per set (9.37) despite only two seasons with the Wildcats.
The volleyball student-athletes have also continued to be successful in the classroom during Steinbach's time as head coach. Villanova has received the Game Plan/AVCA Team Academic Award four times, while the Wildcats have had a total of 51 selections to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team since 2007.
Steinbach came to the Main Line with a wealth of experience as a coach and recruiter. His first Villanova recruiting class arrived on campus in 2008 and featured seven freshmen who eventually led the Wildcats to the terrific achievements of the 2010 and 2011 campaigns as upperclassmen.
Most recently before coming to Villanova, Steinbach was the assistant coach at Wright State from 2005-07. His responsibilities there included serving as recruiting coordinator, overseeing the team's video breakdown of opponents and on-court coaching duties. Prior to his Wright State experience, Steinbach was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati from 2003-05. He has also held assistant coaching positions at Penn State and San Diego Mesa Community College.
In addition to his career in the collegiate ranks Steinbach has also been heavily involved in the club volleyball circuit. Currently, he directs the Philadelphia Volleyball Academy. He has also been the master coach for the 18 and 17 teams of the Dayton Juniors Volleyball Club in Dayton, Ohio. Steinbach was also the head coach of Team Z Volleyball Club in Cincinnati (2003-05), the Club Director of the Lions Pride Volleyball Club in State College, Pa., (2001-03) and coach and club administrator for the Sunwest Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif.
Steinbach played collegiate volleyball at both San Diego Mesa Community College and George Mason University. After earning his Associates Degree from San Diego Mesa Community College in 1999, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Penn State University in 2002.
A native of State College Pa., Steinbach has two sons, Bennett (16) and Carson (11).