Oct. 18, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Behind a career-high 24 kills from sophomore Lauren Carpenter, the Villanova volleyball (11-8, 3-3 BIG EAST) team returned home to avenge last week's lost to St John's when the Wildcats overtook the Red Storm, 3-1 (25-17, 25-22, 25-27, 25-22), Friday night at the Jake Nevin Field House.
"We lost up there (St. John's) last week so it feels good to turn that one around here at home," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "Every conference win is a good win and we're at that position right now where every match matters."
Jake Nevin continues to be a tough environment for opposing teams, as the Wildcats improve to 7-1 on their home court, which includes all three of their BIG EAST wins.
Villanova came out firing on all cylinders to begin the night. With the first set tied at 8-8, the Wildcats slowly began to showcase their skills by scoring six-straight points and 17 of the last 26 to take a 1-0 lead over the Red Storm (13-9, 2-3 BIG EAST).
In a back-and-forth second set that included seven tie scores and eight lead changes, Villanova would turn up the heat after being down 18-21 late in the second stanza. With Mariah Henley serving, the Wildcats strung-off seven of the final eight points to capture the set and take a commanding two sets to none lead. During that rally, the senior libero would add her 100th career service ace on the 24th point.
"I thought it was a big momentum change," Steinbach added. "Going into the locker room up 2-0 is a whole lot different than going in 1-1.We felt going in at halftime up changed a lot of things for us and obviously with the way set three went that was a big deal."
St. John's would retaliate with a 27-25 win to force a fourth set. In the fourth stanza, Villanova took a 9-8 lead that they never surrendered. The Wildcats outdid the Red Storm, 25-22.
Carpenter finished the night just shy of a double-double with a match-high 24 kills on 53 attacks, .396 attack pct. and seven digs. Fellow sophomore Gabby Pethokoukis totaled 13 kills on 25 attacks, capping the night with a match-high .440 attack pct.
"Carpenter was really good tonight," Steinbach said. "We challenge her a little bit to match the other outside hitters were playing against and she certainly did that tonight. I'm glad she capped it off by putting away match point."
Villanova returns to Jake Nevin tomorrow night for a showdown with Seton Hall (9-10, 2-4 BIG EAST) at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will host their first Volleycat Series before the match at 4:30 p.m. The clinic emphasizes on teaching the fundamentals of the game amongst their favorite Villanova players and coaches.
Be sure to follow the team socially on Twitter and Instagram @NovaVolleyball and like the Villanova Volleyball Facebook page to stay up to date with the latest news, scores and highlights.