Sept. 30, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Coming into today's contest the Villanova University volleyball team (11-6, 3-1 BIG EAST) didn't have history on its side. The Wildcats were 0-16 versus the hosting University of Notre Dame (6-8, 2-2 BIG EAST) dating back to Oct. 25, 1982. Faced with the history of the ND program, the Wildcats did not back down and came from behind to win the match 3-2 (21-30, 31-29, 30-27, 22-30, 17-15).
"This was a huge win for our program," said head coach Josh Steinbach. "It barely has hit us yet that we just beat one of the top programs in the BIG EAST and the nation. We are excited where this win puts us in the BIG EAST and where it propels us to finish this season. Elysse (Studzinski) played unbelievable volleyball today and Alona's (Cherkez) solo block at the end to seal the victory was huge."
The Wildcats fell behind early as the Fighting Irish took game number one 30-21 but VU was able to battle back in game two winning by the slimmest of margins 31-29. Game three was all Wildcats as Villanova stormed out of the gates and won 30-27. Down 1-2 the Irish showed their game one form and took the fourth game 30-22.
At the beginning of the fifth game it looked as though history would continue to repeat itself as VU fell behind 5-0. The Wildcats continued to battle and cut the lead 8-7 but the Irish were not done as they stretched the lead to 12-8. The Wildcats never gave up as they came back to tie it at 13-13. The Irish got one match point at 14-13 before the Wildcats tied it up at 14 and took the 15-14 lead.
It would again be tied at 15 before the Wildcats rattled off two straight points to snap the 16-match losing streak.
The Wildcats were led by Alona Cherkez who recorded a huge double-double with 26 kills and 24 digs. Senior Kacy Sellers had 18 kills with two blocks while Elysse Studzinski recorded 14 kills and five digs along with three blocks.
The final player in double-digits was Dana Tartazky who recorded a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs. Junior Whitney Harrington led the team in blocks with five while sophomore Amy Gulyas had 18 digs.
Sophomore setter Chelsea Graman added to her outstanding play as she recorded a season-high 70 assists while also chipping in 11 digs.
The Wildcats will next be in action Saturday, October 6 as they take on West Virginia University at 2 p.m.