Oct. 4, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Down 19-24 in the first set, the Villanova volleyball team (10-5, 2-0 BIG EAST) roared back with seven straight points to capture the first set and swing all the momentum its way, boosting the Wildcats to a shutout victory (26-24, 25-18, 28-25) over BIG EAST foe DePaul (13-2, 0-2 BIG EAST) Friday night at the Jake Nevin Field House on "Dig Pink" night.
"It was a gutsy win for us," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "The first and third sets were super tight games and we found ourselves in some sticky situations. For us, it's huge to be able to find a way to win close games that we hadn't been doing earlier in the year."
The Wildcats are rolling as their winning streak is now at six with all those victories coming on their home court. After starting the year 1-4, Villanova has topped its opponent nine of its last 10 matches, including a perfect 2-0 in the BIG EAST.
Villanova shifted the energy its way after stealing the first set from DePaul. The Wildcats would go on to dominate the Blue Demons, 25-18, in the second stanza to go up a commanding two sets to none at the intermission.
"The comeback in game one set us up in set two," Steinbach added. "We felt so good after looking to being down one going into the second game, to stealing that game. It was a huge momentum change and really gave us a lift going into set two and I thought we rode that wave all the way into the locker room."
The Blue Demons would not go down easy, as they registered six consecutive points in the latter half of the third stanza to force a close set. Tied at 25-25, Michaela Berendt and Lauren Carpenter tagged team for a block assist to go up one. Berendt would then put the match away with a kill to complete the shutout.
Gabby Pethokoukis returned to the starting lineup for the Wildcats after an injury sidelined her early on in the season. The sophomore middle blocker finished with an impressive nine kills on 14 attacks to hit .500.
After being recognized by the BIG EAST for her impressive play last week, freshman Claire Crutchfield followed up with a match-high 14 kills and a .400 attack pct. Both Carpenter (13) and Colleen Hickey (10) finished with double-digit kills on the night, set up by Emma Pettit who totaled 40 assists.
The Wildcats have a short turnaround as they will return to Jake Nevin tomorrow night for a showdown with a Marquette (9-4, 2-0 BIG EAST) squad that is also perfect in conference.