Nov. 2, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In its first match of the season against a nationally-ranked opponent Villanova (11-16, 5-7 BIG EAST) lost to No. 12 Louisville (22-3, 11-1 BIG EAST) in three sets at Cardinal Arena on Friday night. The host Cardinals won the match, 3-0, with set scores of 25-11, 28-26 and 25-13. Senior middle blocker CeCe Twitty (Scottsdale, Ariz.) led the Wildcats with six kills and three block assists in the match.
Twitty put down six kills with three errors on 18 attempts and senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) added six kills on 19 tries. Freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) chipped in with five kills and two total blocks, including the only solo block of the night for either team. Freshman setter Emma Pettit (Ft. Collins, Colo.) had 18 assists while running the offense.
Villanova started a swing of three straight road matches against one of the perennial BIG EAST contenders and the preseason favorite to win the league. Louisville is the only conference team to be ranked in the top 25 this season and the Cardinals have been ranked or receiving votes each week this season.
Junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) had 16 digs and was at the forefront of a strong Wildcats defensive effort. Villanova also got eight digs from sophomore defensive specialist Ally Moskitis (Long Beach, Calif.) and six apiece from sophomore Allie DiBernardo (Coto de Caza, Calif.) and freshman Michelle Adams (Sugar Land, Texas).
"Mariah continued the excellent season she is having with an outstanding match tonight," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "Overall I was happy to see us defend extremely well against such a strong opponent."
Early in the first set Louisville held a slim 8-7 lead but then ran off nine straight points to pull away and eventually go up 1-0 in the match. Three service aces by Katie George helped pace the run for the Cardinals, whose 9-0 spurt also included three kills, one team block and a pair of Wildcats attack errors. Louisville started the match off strong with 13 kills and only one error in the opening set.
During the second set Villanova showed the type of resiliency that it has displayed all season long. After a kill by All-American Lola Arslanbekova gave the Cardinals a 19-13 advantage and culminated a 7-3 run the Wildcats fought back by winning seven of the next nine points to get within 21-20. Andersen had two kills during that stretch and freshman outside hitter Colleen Hickey (West Chester, Pa.) registered a kill and an ace.
Louisville momentarily recovered from the Villanova run with two straight points to go ahead 23-20 but then the Wildcats reeled off five of the next six points to take their first lead in the entire match at 25-24. Villanova overcame consecutive set points after the Cardinals led 24-22 thanks to a service error by Louisville followed by a kill from Andersen which tied the score at 24-all.
On the next point played Hickey and Twitty teamed up for a block assist to give the Wildcats the 25-24 lead. At that point Villanova had scored 12 of the previous 17 points but the Cardinals eventually pulled out a 28-26 win in the set. After the Wildcats took their first lead the teams traded service errors which left Villanova with a 26-25 advantage. Another service error tied the score for the final time at 26-26 before Louisville finished off the set with the next two points.
The momentum at the end of the second set for the Cardinals carried over into the final frame and Louisville raced out to a 13-4 lead. With no intentions of going down quietly however, the Wildcats scored the next six points to get within 13-10 before the Cardinals gradually put both the set and the match out of reach.
That late 6-0 run for Villanova included three straight points that Carpenter played a hand in. Following successive Louisville attack errors Carpenter put down a kill, teamed with freshman middle blocker Brittany Rembert (Orlando, Fla.) for a block and then added a solo block of her own before an ace by Andersen capped the mini-run.
In their second game of the weekend the Wildcats travel to Cincinnati for a 2 p.m. match on Sunday afternoon.