Road Matches at USF and Pittsburgh on Tap For Wildcats This Weekend
VILLANOVA, Pa.--The fourth weekend of conference play comes up this weekend and Villanova (9-10, 3-2 BIG EAST) is preparing to go on the road for the third time in the last four weeks. Entering road matches this weekend at USF (Friday at 7 p.m.) and Pittsburgh (Sunday at 2 p.m.) the Wildcats have won four straight matches, including three in a row versus BIG EAST opponents.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) averages 2.76 kills per set to lead what has been a balanced Villanova offense throughout the year. Senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) tallied her 1,000th career kill against Lehigh on Tuesday night and is averaging 2.29 kills per set on the season.
On the defensive end the Wildcats have flourished with a combination of strong blocking and the play of junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) in the back row. Counting only matches against league opponents Henley is second in the BIG EAST with 5.95 digs per set and overall for the season she has come up with 5.58 digs per set. Villanova ranks third in conference matches in blocking and freshman middle blocker Gabby Pethokoukis (Western Springs, Ill.) leads the league with 1.50 total blocks per set in the five matches against BIG EAST foes.
This is the second straight season that the Wildcats will face USF on the road. Last season Villanova left the Corral with a 3-1 victory and Andersen had a team-high 12 kills. This season the Bulls are 10-9 overall and 2-4 against BIG EAST matches, with their two league wins coming against Rutgers and Cincinnati.
"USF is a tough place to play and we will have to be ready to go on the road and get after it this weekend," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "It is going to be important for us to serve well and play good defense."
Following the match on Friday night the Wildcats will immediately turn their attention towards Sunday afternoon's encounter against the Panthers, a matchup which is the first of two between the teams this season. Villanova hosts Pittsburgh in the final home match of the regular season next month.
Entering play this weekend the Panthers are 11-9 overall for the season and 2-4 in conference action. Both wins for Pittsburgh in league play have come on the road, against Rutgers and Syracuse. Last season the Wildcats tallied a 3-1 win over the Panthers at Jake Nevin Field House.
Live coverage of both matches this weekend are available by using the links at the top of this release. Live statistics of each match are available free of charge, while a fee-based video stream of the USF match is also available.