Strong Blocking Continues But Wildcats Edged By St. John's, 3-2
Sept. 23, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. - For the second straight match Villanova (5-10, 0-2 BIG EAST) did an effective job of blocking but the Wildcats were defeated in five sets by St. John's (15-3, 2-0 BIG EAST) at Carnessecca Arena on Sunday afternoon. Villanova won the opening set and later forced the decisive fifth frame by winning the fourth set. The back-and-forth match eventually went to the Red Storm by scores of 17-25, 25-23, 25-15, 16-25 and 15-12 as the Wildcats lost their sixth straight match.
Villanova had 13.0 team blocks to register its second straight outing reaching at least that total. Freshman middle blocker Gabby Pethokoukis (Western Springs, Ill.) had a season high 10 block assists to lead the team effort while freshman setter Emma Pettit (Ft. Collins, Colo.) and junior outside hitter Carly Edwards (Okemos, Mich.) each tallied five total blocks.
The score of the deciding set was tied six times, including for the final time at 10-10, but St. John's never trailed in the set and wound up scoring five of the final seven points to win the match. The set was necessary after the Wildcats extended the match with a dominating performance in the fourth set to even the score at 2-2.
At various points in the match each team enjoyed an advantage in the flow of play for long stretches of time. That trend started in the first set when Villanova raced away on a 15-3 run to overcome a 14-10 deficit and close out the opening frame with an eight-point margin of victory. Neither team led by more than four points in a close second set but the next two sets both saw one side in control all the way through.
In the third set the Red Storm turned a 4-4 tie into a 21-8 lead by scoring 17 out of 21 points along the way to taking their first lead in the match at 2-1. With their backs against the wall in the fourth set the Wildcats scored the first three points of the frame, stretched the lead to 7-2 soon after and eventually led by as many as 13 points (23-10) before settling on the nine-point margin of victory.
Villanova generated points with its blocks and strong serving on a day when no players reached double figures in kills despite the match going five sets. Sophomore defensive specialist Ally Moskitis (Long Beach, Calif.) tied a career high with five service aces and the Wildcats as a team had 10 aces, compared with three aces and 12 errors that St. John's committed.
Senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) led Villanova with nine kills and the Wildcats got eight kills apiece from Edwards and freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.). On the defensive end junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) had 26 digs and sophomore setter Allie DiBernardo (Coto de Caza, Calif.) added 11 digs.
Since hosting the Villanova Classic during the opening weekend of the season the Wildcats have played 12 consecutive matches away from home. Villanova finally returns to Jake Nevin Field House next weekend to host BIG EAST matches against Rutgers (Friday at 7 p.m.) and Seton Hall (Sunday at 2 p.m.).
NOTES: Villanova had a season high 14.0 total blocks against Connecticut on Friday night ... The Wildcats have reached double figures in blocks four times this season ... Pethokoukis has 17 block assists in her last two matches.