Nov. 8, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova volleyball squad (12-12, 4-7 BIG EAST) returned to .500 for the first time since Sept. 17 as a previously ranked Creighton squad (17-7, 8-3 BIG EAST) defeated the Wildcats, 3-0 (21-25, 21-25, 21-25), Friday night at the Jake Nevin Field House.
"Creighton is very good and they make you play well to beat them. We didn't play well enough tonight," head coach Josh Steinbach said. "I'm hopeful that we can refocus and get ready for tomorrow."
This marks the only sweep against the Wildcats at home and their third loss at Jake Nevin all season. Villanova lost the battle on the attack and block, hitting .158 with five blocks to Creighton's .269 and 12 blocks.
The first set was highlighted by scoring runs for both teams. With the score tied at 8-8 early, Creighton strung-off five straight points to take a 13-8 lead. Following a timeout, Villanova answered the door with seven consecutive points of its own to go ahead, 15-13. The two squads would then battle it out to tie the match at 20-20, before the Blue Jays closed out set one with five of the next six points (25-21).
Set two would involve more back-and-forth action, as the teams combined for seven tie scores and a match-high five lead changes. Tied at 8-8, Creighton would make its move and begin to pull away from the Wildcats. Seven points in a row was too much for Villanova to overcome and the Blue Jays would eventually close out the set, 25-21.
Using the intermission to their advantage, the Wildcats would fire out of the gate with five points and ultimately go ahead 12-8 midway through the stanza. However, Creighton would counter with seven of the next 10 points to tie the match at 15-15. The two teams would trade points for a couple of volleys before Creighton went on the attack and captured the set (25-21) and match.
Senior Mariah Henley racked up a team-high 20 digs on the evening, pushing her career total to 1,623. This moves her into sole possession of No. 3 all-time on the Villanova career-digs list with Elizabeth Jones (1,720/1995-98) in sight. The team-captain also eclipsed Jones' 1997 season of 457 digs which puts her No. 8 all-time for a single season.
After last match against Georgetown ended her streak of 16 matches with double-digit kills, Lauren Carpenter returned to form and led the team with 11 kills. Pethokoukis added eight kills on 19 attacks (.263) and 3 blocks.
The Wildcats will return to the court tomorrow against Butler at 6 p.m. before hosting Xavier for Senior Day Sunday at 3 p.m.