Sept. 15, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. - In its last of four matches at the ASU Sheraton Invitational this weekend Villanova (5-8) was swept in three sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-17) by UC-Riverside (5-8) at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night. The loss was the fourth straight in the tournament for the Wildcats, who wrapped up regular season tournament play with this trip to the West Coast.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) had 11 kills and hit .242 for Villanova but the Highlanders had firm control of all three sets along the way to the sweep. Carpenter also tied for the team lead with three block assists and freshman middle blocker Gabby Pethokoukis (Western Springs, Ill.) also had three block assists while pounding five kills and hitting .364 in the match.
As a team the Wildcats committed just 10 hitting errors in the match, including just two miscues in the final set. UC-Riverside still had the more efficient however, and hit .287 for the match to earn the win. In the final two sets combined the Highlanders hit .380 from the floor with 33 kills and just six errors.
Villanova lost the first five points in the first set and the UC-Riverside lead was never threatened as the Highlanders took a 1-0 lead in the match. In the second set there were six ties during the first 24 points but the Wildcats never trailed in that span and led 12-10 after junior outside hitter Carly Edwards (Okemos, Mich.) knocked down one of her four kills.
After that play UC-Riverside scored the next six points to go in front for the first time in the set with a 16-12 lead and, from there, Villanova was only to get as close as one point (19-18) once the rest of the way. The six unanswered points from the Highlanders midway through the set included four kills from UC-Riverside hitter Ashley Cox, who ended the night with a match-high 13 kills without committing an error.
In the third set the teams alternated the first six points but the Highlanders pulled away from a 3-3 tie to take a 10-4 lead and eventually stretched the margin to as many as 10 points before closing out the match.
Villanova opens regular season BIG EAST play next weekend with a road trip to Connecticut and St. John's. The conference opener is on Friday night at Connecticut at 7 p.m.