Oct. 9, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) became the 14th player in school history to reach 1,000 career kills and Villanova (9-10) tallied its fourth straight decision with a 3-1 win over Lehigh (6-9) at Jake Nevin Field House on Tuesday night. Andersen reached the 1,000 milestone late in the first set and finished the match with 10 kills to help pace the Wildcats to the win. Villanova won the match with set scores of 25-10, 21-25, 25-20 and 25-22 while winning for the fifth time in six home matches this season.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) matched a season high with 16 kills to lead the Wildcats, who were firing on all cylinders. Sophomore defensive specialist Ally Moskitis (Long Beach, Calif.) had four of the team's season-high 11 service aces, junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) reached 20 digs for the 11th time this year and Villanova received significant contributions from everywhere in the lineup.
Early on the Wildcats raced out of the gates with its best hitting of the season in the first set. Villanova had 17 kills without a single hitting error and attacked at a .680 clip to take a quick 1-0 lead in the match. Andersen, Carpenter and freshman middle blocker Gabby Pethokoukis (Western Springs, Ill.) all had four kills in the set and freshman setter Emma Pettit (Ft. Collins, Colo.) dished out 14 assists. A big run set the tone for the set as the Wildcats turned a 3-2 lead into a commanding 14-3 advantage. Later in the set a kill by which made the score 23-10 brought Andersen to the 1,000 plateau.
"Krista is the kind of person that I want in our program," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "She has been a hard worker from the second she walked into the gym and has been a four-year starter for us. Krista has amazing confidence and that has allowed her to do some really good things as a player. When she raises the level she is playing at she is among the best there is and in the first set tonight she was spectacular. I appreciate having the opportunity to coach her for the past four years."
Neither team was able to gain a big advantage in the second set and after 10 tie scores the Mountain Hawks pulled away from an 18-18 tie to score seven of the last 10 points in the set and tie match at 1-1. After the Wildcats won the third set to retake the lead the fourth and final frame was another back-and-forth affair.
There were 13 ties and seven lead changes in the fourth set but Villanova recovered from a 22-20 deficit to score the final five points of the match. A kill by senior middle blocker CeCe Twitty (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tied the score at 22-22 and a kill by Carpenter accounted for the final point just moments later.
Carpenter hit .353 for the night and recorded her 16 kills while making only four attack errors on 34 attempts. She also had a team-high three block assists, Pethokoukis had eight kills and two blocks and Pettit racked up 40 assists as eight different players had kills in the winning effort.
Among the players giving the Wildcats a lift off the bench were sophomore outside hitter Molly O'Neil (Palm City, Fla.) and freshman outside hitter Colleen Hickey (West Chester, Pa.). O'Neil had four kills without committing a hitting error and Hickey chipped in with five kills and four digs. Junior defensive specialist Julie Joyce (Downingtown, Pa.) had a season-high four digs.
"We got a lot of big contributions from everyone that played tonight," Steinbach said. "It is important to get some of our players that don't see a whole lot of action some time on the court when there is an opportunity. Molly took some really good swings and Julie did a nice job defensively. They play hard in practice every day and I know that they are capable so it was good to see them play well."
Henley had 20 digs to lead the defense and added three assists and two aces in the match. Villanova had six of its 11 aces in the third set alone, including three straight by Moskitis to help the Wildcats pull away late in the set. Villanova had the lead for good early on after two aces in a span of three points by Pettit forged a quick 4-1 lead.
Tonight's win was the fifth straight at home for the Wildcats since losing their season opener to Maryland and the team has also won four straight matches overall. Villanova goes back on the road this weekend for matches against BIG EAST foes USF (Friday at 7 p.m.) and Pittsburgh (Sunday at 2 p.m.).
"It is nice to be on a little bit of a roll as we head into a big weekend," Steinbach said. "The players have built up some confidence and it is certainly a lot easier to do that after wins than after losses. We have two tough matches coming up and will have to play better during the weekend than we did tonight."
NOTES: Of the 14 players in program history who have reached 1,000 career kills Andersen is the fifth to hit the milestone since Steinbach became head coach ... During his first season at Villanova in 2007 seniors Alona Cherkez and Kacy Sellers each reached the 1,000 mark ... Last season seniors Maggie Mergen and Morgan Petkovich joined the program's 1,000-kill club ... Carpenter also had 16 kills in a win over New Hampshire on August 25 in a match that the Wildcats won in five sets ... The last time Villanova had 11 service aces in a match was last season on November 5, 2011 at Florida Gulf Coast ... Pettit recorded her fifth double-double (assists-digs) of the season ... She added to her 40 assists with 10 digs, three aces and one block.