Sept. 17, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova volleyball squad "Jammed the Jake" with a crowd of 353 screaming people Tuesday night and came out victorious over Delaware, 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 25-15, 20-25, 15-4), in its home opener at the Jake Nevin Field House. The Wildcats improve to 5-5 (.500) on the season and move to 6-1 all-time in season home openers under head coach Josh Steinbach's tenure.
"It feels good to beat Delaware. It's a good rival for us and anytime we can get that win, it makes our season a little better," Steinbach said. "The crowd was awesome. It was good to have such a large group of people here for the match and we're hoping they continue to come back. We want to thank coach, Jay Wright, for having his men's basketball team here supporting our squad. It makes Jake Nevin feel like home."
The Wildcats came out of the gate on fire with the first five points of the match. Villanova did not trail once in a 25-22 first set victory. Delaware would retaliate and win the second set, 26-24, after coming from behind at the end of the stanza.
With the third set tied at 6-6, the Wildcats started to go on the attack. Villanova would go on a 19-9 run, which included a string of seven consecutive points to capture the game.
Following the Blue Hens equalizer, Villanova would go on to dominate the last game with eight consecutive points scored with Julie Joyce serving. The Wildcats closed the set (15-4) and match with consecutive kills by Claire Crutchfield.
The freshmen duo of Michaela Berendt and Crutchfield were the story for the Wildcats on Tuesday. After being named to the Volleyball BIG EAST Honor Roll Monday, Berendt followed up with her best performance of the season. The Olympia, Wash. native would finish with a career-high 20 kills on 37 attacks (.351) and five blocks. Outside hitters Crutchfield and Lauren Carpenter would both total 15 kills on the match.
"Michaela and Claire are two offensive players and they can score. We like what they've done so far and if they keep getting better, those two will be special kids in a special class," Steinbach added.
The Wildcats welcome Sacred Heart, Norfolk State and Penn to the Jake Nevin Field House this weekend as they host the annual Villanova Classic. First match is versus Sacred Heart Friday at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will then conclude the tournament with a double header against Norfolk State (11 a.m.) and Penn (7 p.m.).
For more information on the team, be sure to follow @NovaVolleyball on Twitter and Instagram and like the Villanova Volleyball Facebook page.