Oct. 17, 2013
"After you lose and then play the same teams right away, there is some focus that's just generated because you want to win," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "Whether it's early or late in the year, when you've lost to somebody, its fresh in your mind and you want to beat them badly. I would expect that we're ready to go."
Villanova is introducing a new Youth Clinic this year that focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the sport while playing volleyball with their favorite Wildcats. The first of two Volleycat Series clinics will take place before the match on Saturday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and participants will receive pizza and other refreshments after the tutorial. The cost is $15 to attend one session and $25 for both sessions.
The Wildcats return to the Jake Nevin Field House where they are 6-1 and held a season-high six-match winning streak. Villanova will seek their first BIG EAST win in three matches, after beginning conference play with consecutive victories over Georgetown and DePaul at home.
Villanova fell short (3-1) to St. John's last Saturday at the Carnesecca Arena. With the match tied at one set a piece, the Wildcats and Red Storm traded points throughout the third set. In the longest set of the entire season for Villanova, sequential kills by two different St. John's players captured the set, 31-29, turning out to be the difference maker for the Red Storm.
"We learned that St. John's is a really good volleyball team. We've got some film on that match and we've been studying a little bit and prepping for some of the things St. John's does," Steinbach added. "Hopefully, our team learned it's hard to win on the road and that we've got to make sure it's hard for other teams to win here."
In arguably the most thrilling match of the season, Seton Hall edged Villanova at the Walsch Gym in five sets with a 15-13 win in the final stanza. Down two sets to one, the Wildcats tuned in a gutsy performance to force a decisive fifth set that consisted of back-and-forth action throughout the contest.
"Losing to Seton Hall after it plays 15-13 and not having played the way we expected Friday night, our kids should be fired up for both of those matches, with St. John's first and Seton Hall Saturday," Steinbach said. "In our league we have to understand that every match is tough and every team is good. It used to be that there would be one or two matches in our league that we didn't have to stress about and that's not the case anymore."
Seton Hall visits Jake Nevin winners in three of their last four matches, including a road sweep over LIU-Brooklyn on Wednesday where they snapped LIU's 19-match home winning streak.
Against the Pirates, senior libero Mariah Henley and sophomore setter Emma Pettit marked their stamp on Villanova's history book. Henley passed Megan O'Brien (1,472 digs) to claim sole possession of the No. 4 slot on the career digs list. In only her second season as the team's primary setter, Pettit cracked the top-10 in career assists, knocking Courtney Oertli (1,370 assists) out of the list.
If you cannot make it to Jake Nevin, both matches will be available through the Nova Nation All-Access broadcast with Villanova's Nick Mantegna on the call.
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 from the Wildcats.