Oct. 14, 2012
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) and freshman counterpart Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) had 14 kills apiece and led Villanova (10-11, 4-3 BIG EAST) to a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh (12-10, 3-5 BIG EAST) at Fitzgerald Field House on Sunday afternoon. The visiting Wildcats lost the opening set but then rallied to win the match by scores of 15-25, 25-22, 25-20 and 25-23 to gain a split in this weekend's road trip.
"We played well after the first set," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "We got a number of key contributions from the lineup to come away with an important road victory."
The difference in the sets came down to the Wildcats playing exceptionally late in the second through fourth sets. Andersen had 10 of her 14 kills in the last two sets and freshman middle blocker Gabby Pethokoukis (Western Springs, Ill.) added nine kills and five total blocks (two solo, three assisted) in the winning effort.
On the defensive side junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) had 27 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Ally Moskitis (Long Beach, Calif.) added 11 digs. Steinbach noted each of their contributions as keys to the match.
"Ally and Mariah both played well and were a big part of this win," Steinbach said. "In addition to her defense Ally also served particularly well."
After dropping the opening set Villanova jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in the second set. Midway through the set the Panthers rallied from a 10-6 deficit to take a 15-14 lead. The teams were tied at every score from 14-14 through 21-21 before the Wildcats scored four of the last five points. Villanova won the set 25-22 to even the match at 1-1. Pethokoukis and Carpenter each had four kills in the set and the Wildcats hit .353 as a team after only attacking at a .097 clip in the opening set.
"Lauren had a very strong match and hit the ball very accurately today," Steinbach said.
In the third set Villanova trailed 11-8 but ran off five straight points to take a 13-11 lead, an advantage that the Wildcats never relinquished. The score was 14-13 but a 7-1 run then gave Villanova a 21-14 lead and laid the foundation for the Wildcats to grab a 2-1 lead in the match.
Andersen and senior middle blocker CeCe Twitty (Scottsdale, Ariz.) each had two kills during the 7-1 run in the third set, while Twitty and freshman middle blocker Brittany Rembert (Orlando, Fla.) teamed up for a block that accounted for another point. Carpenter also had a kill during the run. Rembert gave Villanova a lift with six kills and four block assists.
The fourth set followed a similar script and Villanova scored six of the final seven points to end the match. Of the 48 points that were played in the set there was just one occasion when there was a bigger gap in the score than three points (the Wildcats had an early 6-2 lead). Late in the set Pittsburgh led 22-19 but Villanova turned that deficit into a 25-23 win in the set. A service error by the Panthers began the run but consecutive kills by sophomore setter Allie DiBernardo (Coto de Caza, Calif.) and Andersen tied the score at 22-all. Moments later another kill by Andersen accounted for the match-winning point.
DiBernardo had 30 assists, seven digs, three kills and two block assists for the day while splitting setting duties with freshman Emma Pettit (Ft. Collins, Colo.), who had 16 assists in the first two sets.
Villanova has played five of its seven BIG EAST matches on the road but will play its next four conference matches at home, beginning next weekend. Prior to that however, the Wildcats play their final non-conference match of the regular season on Wednesday night at Delaware. That match begins at 7 p.m.