Sept. 22, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova volleyball team is set to open conference action for the 2011 season. The Wildcats will travel to DePaul on Saturday, Sept. 24 for a 3:00 p.m. ET start and head to Notre Dame on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1:00 p.m. Sunday's match will be televised live on ESPNU. This is the first national TV game in program history.
Saturday's match at DePaul is the conference opener for both squads and Villanova takes an 8-5 record into the BIG EAST season.
Last weekend at the American Volleyball Classic the Wildcats swept host American 3-0, but fell 3-2 to Missouri and 3-0 to Western Kentucky. Senior Kim Maroon was named to the all-tournament squad after averaging 7.09 digs in two matches as libero. She gave out 2.82 assists as the setter in Villanova's match against Western Kentucky. Maroon collected 27 digs in a three-set sweep over host school American and followed with 42 digs in five sets in a 3-2 loss to Missouri. Entering the week, she leads the BIG EAST and the NCAA with 6.84 digs per set.
Junior Morgan Petkovich leads the squad offensively with 3.00 kills per set. Junior Krista Andersen is averaging 2.78 and senior Maggie Mergen tallies 2.73 with a .242 hitting percentage. After being named the MVP of the Big 5 Tournament where she averaged 4.60 kills per set and had just four errors in three matches, Petkovich was named to the conference honor roll for the week of Sept. 5.
Freshman Allie DiBernardo has stepped into setting duties for the Wildcats after senior Courtney Oertli was injured just before the season started. DiBernardo ranks fourth in the BIG EAST giving out 10.64 assists to her teammates. In a 3-2 victory over Delaware, DiBernardo dished out a carrer-high 52 assists.
DePaul enters the weekend with 3-10 overall record. The Blue Demons dropped three matches last weekend losing to Valparaiso, San Diego State and Kansas. Last season, the Wildcats defeated DePaul 3-1 at Villanova. Freshman Amy Lansky leads the squad with 3.11 kills per set and ranks 10th in the BIG EAST.
Notre Dame takes a 7-3 record into the weekend before facing Georgetown on Saturday. Sunday will be the sixth meeting between Villanova and Notre Dame under Steinbach. In 2007, the Wildcats snapped a 25-year losing streak to Notre Dame by defeating the Irish 3-2 at Purcell Pavilion. Since, Villanova has won three of the past five matches. The Wildcats won the regular season meeting in 2010, but were bested by the Irish in the opening round of the conference tournament.
Sophomore Andrea McHugh leads Notre Dame with 3.27 kills per set and ranks eighth in the conference she also tallies 3.65 digs per set. Senior Frenchy Silva collects a team-high 4.16 digs per outing.
Since Steinbach took over as head coach in 2007, Villanova is 2-2 in BIG EAST lidlifters. Last season the Wildcats won at St. John's, 3-1.